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TJbe Echo-Device in Literature 



By Elbridge Colby 



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NOTE 

SINCE prefatory remarks are usually intended to tell all the good points 
of a work and to excuse all the bad ones, it is necessary to state here 
that this study was undertaken and completed because the author wished 
to find out something of the use of the echo-device in literature and 
because he discovered that nothing had been written on the subject, if we 
are to except a couple of columns in Larousse, a page or so in D'Israeli, 
a few paragraphs in a curious old French book of 1845, "Biblioth^ue de 
Poche par une Soci^e de gens des lettres et 4'cru<l^^s/' ^^^ some 
scattered references in "Notes and Queries." After collecting about a 
hundred items, he discussed the matter with Mr. R. S. Forsjrthe, who 
exchanged references and made some mention of this matter in a foot- 
note to his volume on ''Shirley's Plays and the Elizabethan Drama." 
Some other friends have been gracious enough to assist, notably, Sir 
Sidney Lee, Mr. P. Henriquez Urena, Prof. Colbert Searles, and Prof. 
J. B. Fletcher. To all of these the most sincere thanks are due for the 
appearance of this paper. It is only with great difficulties that it finally 
emerges froni the press, begun in undergraduate days, continued during 
an instructorship at Columbia, carried on in the course of a year of study 
abroad, put into temporary shape amid teaching at Minnesota, read in 
part before the Central Division of the Modern Language Association, 
and finally completed in the intervals of more active and necessary mili- 
tary life. Its only excuse for publication is its unique quality, for it is 
the only study of the sort that has ever been attempted, and it is, I believe, 
reasonably complete. 



An Echo 

Never sleeping, still awake. 

Pleasing most when most I speak; 

The delight of old and young, 

Though I speak without a tongue. 

Nought but one thing can confound me, 

Many voices joining round me; 

Then I fret, and rave, and gabble, 

Like the labourers of Babel. 

Now I am a dog, or cow, 

I can bark, or I can low; 

r can bleat, or I can sing. 

Like the warblers of the spring. 

Let the lovesick bard complain 

And I mourn the cruel pain ; 

Let the happy swain rejoice, 

And I join my helping voice: 

Both are welcome, grief or joy, 

I with either sport and toy. 

Though a lady, I am stout. 

Drums and trumpets bring me out : 

Then I clash, and roar, and rattle. 

Join in all the din of battle. 

Jove, with all his loudest thunder. 

When I'm vext, can't keep me under ; 

Yet so tender is my ear. 

That the lowest voice I fear ; 

Much I dread the courtier's fate. 

When his merit's out of date, 

For I hate a silent breath, 

And a whisper is my death. 



— Dean Swipt. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 



The Introduction of the Echo-Device into English Literature 

"Dear Pan, 

Drawing the pipe over thy lips, 
Abide here. 
For thou wilt find Echo on these sunny greens." 

It was very simple and easy for the human imagination to conceive a 
person in the distance, returning a mocking answer to loud shoutings. As 
most good things in modern literature and life find their parallels in Greek 
civilization, so here we find the. earliest written personification of "the moun- 
tainrock's child Echo," in the "Hecuba" of Euripides (425 B. C.).* And also 
in the Greek we find the first echo-dialogue in literature in the complete metrical 
form in which it will later be defined in this paper.^ 

The echo-dialogue has been prominent and frequent in literature — in 
English as well as in that of other nations. English literature, of the Renais- 
sance, owed a great deal in form and phrase, in technique and in substance to 
continental forms. The echo was commonly introduced into pastorals, and 
was, whether appearing in the scene of a dramatic piece or in an isolated sonnet 
or lyric poem, a product of conscious care and precise artistry. It was a sophis- 
ticated element, — and like most sophisticated elements came from the French 
and the Italian. But if we try to trace origins we go back and back until we 
lose ourselves in the night of time. Back to the Greeks we go,^ and there in 
the famous Anthology which Dr. Johnson used to translate before breakfast 
we find a poem of the poet Gauradas, evidently dating from the Byzantine 
period, a period — it is to be noted — of conscious artistry, and a poem — it 
is likewise to be noted — written by a man with a reputation for metrical whims. 



^Agamemnon hastens in answer to Polymestor's cry for rescue: 

Hearing a shout, I came; for in no whispers 
The mountain -rock's child Echo through the host 
Cried, waking tumult. Knew we not the towers 
Of Phrygia of the spear of Greeks had fallen 
No little panic had this clangour raised. 

This in the Greek reads : 

Koavyv)? dawvaaq ^Xdov* ov yoLQ liouxo; 
rieTQa; 6o6iag jiaig XiXaW dva cnoaToO 
'Hxa> 6i5ov0a ^6qv6ov* eI bk \ii\ tpQvyGiOf 
HvQyov^ nsadvcag Tia^Ev *£XXT)va>v doQi, 
$6^ov naQiayiEv ov ^^acog 55e x-njjiog. 

* There is one in an old Arabic manuscript, which, however, docs not personify the echo: "I came 
to the place of my birth, and cried. The friends of my youth, where are theyf And an echo answered. 
Where are theyf" 

'William S. Walsh: "Handbook of Literary Curiosities*' (p. 261), suspects that the actual echo-device 
was used by Euripides in his lost drama Andromeda, "as indicated by Aristophanes* ridicule of it in *The 
Thesmophoriazusae' (B. C. 410) 11. 1056-1097, ed. B. B. Rogers, 1904.*' 

[5] 



6 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

repetitions, and palindromes. (The following has been transcribed into Attic 
Greek: ) 

& noQa Tov nav6^ 
'Hxol> <pCXii |u>i avyxaxai'wa&t/ xu — xi; ' 

Ilo&iai i xoi(^c xoi^^ od fpiQtu — tpiQtu 
Ti) To(vw a{n% Xd|ov &z io^' — io^' 
Kol JcioTiv aircg xcQiuiTcov xis fto^. — xv d6g. 
'Hxcby t( Xoucov, fl II6A0U Tux^iv. — xvxciv. 

A free translation of this would read:^ 

Pan Deems to Speak 
Beloved echo wilt thou favour me to some degree? 

To some degree f 
A little maiden I adore ; not me, however, she doth love. 

She doth love. 
For loving Opportunity ne'er the moment fit does come? 

/* does come! 
Thou therefore tell her I adore her. 

Ay, adore her! 
To her a trifling pledge of coins give thou. 

Give thou! 
Echo, what remains but my yearning to obtain? 

To obtain. 

That we find the echo-dialogue in the Greek is significant in one degree 
only. Our records of Hellenic civilization are reasonably complete, — far 
more so than those we have of other ages. Minerva may have sprung full 
panoplied from the head of Jove, but Grecian culture did not appear in any 
such instantaneous fashion, a sudden intelligence in a war-like and barbaric 
age. Athens had its forerunners no less than Paris, London, and Berlin. That 
previous obscurity prevents our having earlier records is no indication that the 
echo-dialogue, as any other form in art, architecture, or literature, did not 
previously exist. In the full light of an age of effulgence a great deal of trivial 
detail is shown, in darkened centuries much is lost, and only the broader things 
of greater moment remain. Earlier echoes may have gone off into darkness 
and never returned to the light. It is then very probable that there may have 
been occurrences which we cannot discover. And yet all of this fanciful con- 
struction of probabilities may be entirely wrong. What time more likely for 
the invention of curious artistic devices than a period of mere inventiveness 
following a great outburst of song, and true lyric invention? Was not the 
age of those whom Dr. Johnson called the "Metaphysical School" — where 
we find many echo-verses — such a period ? Does not the Byzantine period, in 
which this poet Gauradas has been placed, come under the same classification ? 

* Very difficult to translate on account of the character of the Greek verbs, where the subject and 
object are so often implicit. This was translated into LAtin by Hugo Grotius in 1799: 

Pan loquitur 
Echo docebis mene quae volo? volo. 
Amare me, sed non amari ama? Ama. 
Fruine tempus ut queam dabit? dabit. 
Fer verba amoris signa quern feram? feram. 
Fidcm sed auri te rogo duis, duis. 
Echo quid ultra restat? an frui? frui. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 7 

We do know at least that the use of an actual verbal echo in literature 
dates from the Greek Anthology and the Byzantine period. Further than 
that its history can be briefly sketched. It first appeared in Western Europe, 
in the French in the poems of a thirteenth century Trouvere of Arras, and then 
in the Elizabethan period became extremely popular and its use spread to 
Spain and England, usually as a complement of pastoral poetry. In England, 
however, after its first introduction in "The Princely Pleasures of Kenilworth 
Castle" (1575), it got into the drama, where it was used for humorous effect, 
as a terror device, and as a reflection of important, or fatalistic, introspective 
ideas. It was distinctly an irregular and artificial type and, since the advent 
of "the classical rule" of the Eighteenth Century, has almost completely died 
out, except in vers de socieie, where its use is doubtless related directly to 
similar occurrences in Elizabethan sonnets and other lyric poems of courtly 
compliment. Its strangest manifestation, however, is its recent almost inex- 
plicable appearance in German war poems of the present day. ' 

Before we proceed further with the subject it might be well to give a 
definition of the three main types of the device: 

(I) The echo-device in its purest form appears almost as actual conversa- 
tion between a character and the echo, where, without the insertion of explana- 
tory phrases in the text itself, the final syllables or final words of a line of 
poetry are echoed back from an unseen distance so as to make a comment on 
the sentiments or to answer a question of the speaker. In other words, the 
lyric monologue is transformed into a dialogue. As a good example of the 
first and most usualtype of this device which I am going to discuss, there is 
a poem by George Herbert, entitled "Heaven": 

O who will show me these delights on high? 

Echo, I. 
Thou Echo, thou art Mortall, all men know. 

Echo, No. 
Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves? 

Echo, Leaves. 
And are there any leaves that still abide? 

Echo, Bide. 
What leaves are they? Impart the matter wholly. 

Echo, Holy. 
Are holy leaves the Echo then of blisse ? 

Echo, Yes. 
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight? 

Echo, Light. 
Light to the minde ; what shall the will enjoy? 

Echo, Joy. 
But are there cares and businesse with the pleasure ? 

Echo, Leisure. 
Light, joy, and leisure; but shall they persever? 

Echo, Ever.' 

(II) It will be seen that in this poem the words repeated form no part 
of the lines and have no place in the rythm and meter of the verses. The poem 

* Written certainly before 1633, and possibly before 1613. 



8 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

is complete as the poet pronounced it and the echo merely makes additional 
statements.^ But often the author has deemed it necessary to introduce into 
the text some such words as '*Echo answered," "Echo replied," or "And Echo 
said," fitting them into the rythm and meter of the verse. We find an example 
of this second type in Thomas Watson's sonnet sequence "The Tears of Fancie" 
( 1 593 ) , where the lover weeps and groans out his sorrows in the conventional 
way for an unrequited love:^ 

Taking a truce with teares sweete pleasures foe, 

I thus began hard by the f ountayne side : 
O deere copartner of my wretched woe, 

No sooner saide but woe poore eccho cride. 
Then I again what woe did these betide, 

That can be greater than disdayne, disda3me : 
Quoth eccho. Then sayd I O womens pride. 

Pride answered eccho. O inflicting payne, 
When wofull eccho payne agayne repeated, 

Redoubling sorrow with a sorrowing sound : 
For both of us were now in sorrow seated, 

Pride and disdaine disdainefull pride the ground. 
That for St poore Eccho mourne ay sorrowing ever, 

And me lament in teares ay ioyning never. 

(Ill) Again, in what I shall call the third type, the device is seen intro- 
duced in a slightly different way, where it is not deemed necessary to put in 
the explanatory phrases; but where the actual words and their echoes do not 
necessarily come at the end of the line, but may come at almost any point, 
sometimes even two echoes to a line. Here the repeated phrases form part 
and parcel of the measure of the song which would not be complete without 
them. And this type is that more usually employed in the drama, where stage 
directions obviate the necessity of the explanatory phrases found in type two, 
and where the irregularities and broken lines of blank verse permit, and even 
encourage, the insertion of syllables sent back to answer the speaker: 

What is the Fair, to whom so long I plead ? Lead. 
What is her face, so angel-like? Angel-like, 
Then unto Saints in mind, Sh'is not unlike? Unlike. 
What may be hoped of one so evil nat*red? Hatred, 

O then my woes, how shall I hope best ? Hope best. 
Then She is flexible? She is flexible f 
Fie, no, it is impossible I Possible. 
* About her straight then only our best! You're best! 

How must I first her loves to me approve? Prove! 
How if She say I may not kiss her? Kiss her! 
For all her bobs I must them bear, or miss her? Yes, sir! 
Then will She yield at length to Love? To Love! 

Even so! Even so! By Narcisse is it true? True! 

Of thine honesty? / Adieu! Adieu!* 



* This type is of course paralleled by such poems as **A Report Song in a Dream, between a Shepherd 
and a Nymph," by Nicholas Breton, printed in "England's. Helicon" (1600), where there is not really an 
echo-device, but merely a repetition for musical effect. We only include actual verbal echoes in this study. 

» Sonnet 29. 

■W. Percy's "Coelia," 1594, Sonnet 15. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 9 

And now that we have defined the echo-device as it shall be considered 
in this paper, in its three types, the first where the echoes are separate from 
the verse and come at the end of the line, the second where they are inserted in 
the verses themselves along with what for want of a better term we may gall 
the stage directions, and the third where they are incorporated in the verse 
itself without coriiment, — now that we have defined the type itself, we may 
well devote a little time to rejecting the many other forms of trick phrasing 
which various persons have called by the term which we insist belongs to these 
three types and these alone. These other forms will be discussed in an order 
which will, in addition to recording our objections to some forms, give some 
idea of the manner in which the echo-device may have developed. 

We shall not give the name of echo-verses to the clever little things turned - 
out in France by Clement Marot and by Cretin, equivocal punning lines which ' 
should be more properly designated by their true title ryme couronnee. For 
example, here is a stanza from Marot: 

La blanche coloir.belle belle 

Souvent je vay priant criant : 
Mais dessoulz la cordelle d'elle 

Me geUe un oeil friant riaiit, 
En me consommant et sommant 

A douleur qui ma face efface : 
Dont suy le reclamant' Amant, 

Qui pour Toutrepasse trepasses. 

And a clever bit from Cretin: 

Par ces vins verds Atropos a trop os 

Des corps humains suez, en vers en vers 
Dont un quidam aspie-aux-pot a propos 

A fort blame ses tours perverse par vers . . . 

It is quite obvious that these, however fantastic and charming in them- 
selves, are in no sense of the word echo-poems. Not only is there no personifica- 
tion, but neither is there a real verbal echo. They are puns and nothing more, 
evidences of fantastic phrasing in an age of intricate versification continually 
striving after new tricks. Yet, when we come to look into the ingenious 
rhymesters of the Renaissance, we find among the conscious and sophisticated 
artistry of the Italians some indications of verses, some verses of a type which 
might have been the immediate origin of the echo-device, however little they 
may really deserve the title of echo-poem which some scholars have given 
them. Serafino deir Aquilano did a bi-lingual poem in Latin and Italian, which 
dates probably from 1502: 

Ave di cieli imperatrice e santa, 

Maria exaltata nel divin cospetto, 

Gratia feconda, senz' alcun diffetto, 

Plena de caritate tutta quanta. 
Dominus de la tua carne santa 

Tecum de Spirito Santo fu concetto 

E henedetto e il latte del tuo petto. 

Tu consepisti, o graziosa pianta. 



10 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

In tnulieribus piu ch'altra onorata 

Fructus portasti noudimen, madonna, 

Ventris tut remanesti inviolata. 
Jesus pro nobis degna di coronna. 

Nunc et in hora mortis sia avocata 

Poi che di cristian tu sei colonna* 

And a little search finds a parallel to this sort of a "stunt" piece, in English, 
written before 1526, and extracted from one of those collections of poems 
circulated in manuscript before "Tottel's Miscellany" (1557) taught succeeding 
ages the road to the printing shop: 

Salve with abeysance to God in humblesse, 
Regina to regne ever more in'blysse, 
Mater to Cryst as we believe expresse, 
Misericordie unto all wretchessc... ^ 

Then in the "Paradise of Dainty Devices," a printed miscellany of 1576, 
we have what is called an "inverted echo-song": 

Behold the blast which blows the blossoms from the tree, 
The end whereof, consumes and comes to nought we see ; 
Ere thou therefore, be blowen from life that may not last. 
Begin for grace to call, for time mispent and past. . .^ 

These of course are. not real echoes according to our definition, but the 
first words of each line which are distinctively marked in the originals and 
which also are quite necessary to the sense and the meter of the whole, may 
be read separately to form a sort of acrostic sentence. 

"Ave Maria Gratia Plena" etc. 
"Salve Regina Mater Misericordie" 
"Behold the end ere thou begin" 

However, they are not, as I have stated, to be classed as echo poems. But it 
was not a long step from them to a real echo poem which is probably directly 
traceable to them. In his sonnet sequence to "Chloris" (1596), William Smith 
simply puts the significant words at the end of the line where the pause naturally 
comes and then, repeating these words in the manner of the real echoes, forms 
of them a connected speech: 

Oh, fairest fair, to thee I make my plaint. 

My plaint. 
To thee from whom my cause of grief doth spring. 

Doth spring. 
Attentive be unto the grones sweet Saint 

Sweet Saint 
Which unto thee in doleful tunes I sing. 

/ sing. 
Hy mournful muse doth alwaies speak of thee 

of thee 
My love is pure, O do not it disdaine, 

disdaine. 
With bitter sorrow still oppress not me 

not me 



• Extracted from "Collezione di Opcre," inedite o rare, Bologna, 1894, v. 73, pt. 1. 
>*From "Anglia," y. 26, p. 172, Ewald Flugel: "Liedersammlungen der xvi Jahrhundert. 
u Collier's Reprint, p. 2. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 1 1 

But mildly look upon me which complaine, 

which complaine. 
Kill not my true-affecting thoughts, but give 

but give 
. Such pretious balm of comfort to my heart, 

my heart. 
But casting off despaire in hope to love, 

hope to love. 
I may find helpe at length to ease my smart. 

ease my smart. 
So shall you adde such courage to my love, 

my love. 
That fortune false my faith shall not remove. 

shall not remove,^ 

So, even in discussing these earlier types, which are not properly echo- 
poems at all, we have been able to find some hint as to the origin of the type. 

Very probably among the vast mass of manuscript poems which were 
handed around among the scribbling courtiers of those Renaissance days, 
poems which are now lost, there were many which might enable us to fill in 
the gaps which I have had to bridge with logic instead of with poems. But 
it still seems a fairly safe assumption that this kind of writing arose in somer 
what the manner we have indicated, in years when metrical folly often passed 
for wisdom, and wisdom was forced to deck itself with cap and bells. It is 
merely the bad luck of the scholar that regular publication of poems did not 
begin until first attempts had been forgotten and lost, and the finished product 
was ready for the shop window of literature.*^ 

^ Sonnet 21. This is to be distinguished from the true type of the echo-poem by the fact that the 
words repeated comprise an independent statement, and not an answer to; or a comment on the sentiments 
expressed ii^ the main body of the verse. 

^ It may not be unprofitable to eliminate here and forever from the classification as echo-poems that 
species of "link- verse/' which Mr. Erskine says are "closely akin" to the echo-poems. ("The Elizabethan 
Lyric/' p. 41}, Where the last word of one line becomes the first of the next, or even the last line of one 
poem the first of the next. Some examples of this type are to be seen among Daniel's sonnets in "Delia," 
and among those of Thomas Watson in "Teares of Fancie." (We likewise find Juan Garcia Rengifo saying: 
"Otroas Ecos se hacen en verso, ora suclto sin vinculo y trabazon de consonantes, ore atado." The Spanish 
Encyclopedia, under Eco.) Mr. Erskine attributes the use of this trick in English to the influence of Welsh 
poetry of the fourteenth century, where it was very common (see Chas. Wilkins: "Hist. Lit. Wales," (Cardiff, 
1889, p. 27-28, extracted in Appendix K.) ; but disregards the whole group as outside the real limits of 
the echo-poem. It is merely a form of versification and has none of the semi-dramatic quality of the true 
type. I should discard for the same reason Victor Hugo's "ballade de cent vers en echo, 'La chasse du 
Burgrave' ": 

"Daigne prot^er notre chasse, 

Chasse 
De monseigneur saint Godefroi, 
Roi"... 

I should discard for the same reason the "Rondeau en echo," by Eustache Deschamps: 

"De jour en jour toute meren colye 
Lye mon cuer, car rien n'est de mon fait; 
Tait ne sera". . , 

Likewise I should discard the two examples from Panard given by Larousse and by D'Israeli: 

"Songez que tout amant 
Ment 
Dans ses fleurettes." 

"Ou y voit des Commit 

Mis 
Comme de Princes, 
Qui sont vtnus 

Nuds 
De leur province." 

Brander Matthews, "A Study of Versification" (p. 75 f.), has given some examples of this in English, 



4> . 



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NOTE 

SINCE prefatory remarks are usually intended to tell all the good points 
of a work and to excuse all the bad ones, it is necessary to state here 
that this study was undertaken and completed because the author wished 
to find out something of the use of the echo-device in literature and 
because he discovered that nothing had been written on the subject, if we 
are to except a couple of columns in Larousse, a page or so in D'Israeli, 
a few paragraphs in a curious old French book of 1845, "Biblioth^ue de 
Poche par une Soci^te de gens des lettres et ^'^i^^i^^/' ^^^ some 
scattered references in ''Notes and Queries/' After collecting about a 
hundred items, he discussed the matter with Mr. R. S. Forsythe, who 
exchanged references and made some mention of this matter in a foot- 
note to his volume on ''Shirley's Plays and the Elizabethan Drama." 
Some other friends have been gracious enough to assist, notably. Sir 
Sidney Lee, Mr. P. Henriquez Urena, Prof. Colbert Searles, and Prof. 
J. B. Fletcher. To all of these the most sincere thanks are due for the 
appearance of this paper. It is only with great difficulties that it finally 
emerges from the press, begun in undergraduate days, continued during 
an instructorship at Columbia, carried on in the course of a year of study 
abroad, put into temporary shape amid teaching at Minnesota, read in 
part before the Central Division of the Modern Language Association, 
and finally completed in the intervals of more active and necessary mili- 
tary life. Its only excuse for publication is its unique quality, for it is 
the only study of the sort that has ever been attempted, and it is, I believe, 
reasonably complete. 



14 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

Eco di selve abiutrice errante, 

Prima di me tu fosti al mondo amante. ante. 

Or pi^osa tu sei dell' altrui male» 

Vaga voce ne' boschi, ed immortale? Tale" 

The last poem in Italian which I shall mention takes us into a very late 
part of what is called the Renaissance Age. It is rather cleverly done and 
illustrates how the type degenerated into mere question and answer. "Di Era, 
e di Ardo" is the title, and the text is from the "Rime" of Luigi Groto (Cieco 
d'Hadria), dated 1605.^« 

Chi e quella Echo, che mi ange altera? Era 

Chi e quel crudele Echo, onde io ardo? Ardo 

Chi al cor mi cinse fiamma f era ? Era. 

Chi al cor mi trasse acuto dardo? Ardo. 
Chi a se mi allice qual Panth^ra? Era. 

Chi da me f ugge comme Pardo ? Ardo. 

Chi co' begli occhi fa, che io pera ? Era. 

E chi mi ancide co' 1 bel guardo ? Ardo. 
Me chi mipera ? Era. Io che riguardo. Ardo. 

Chi al mio tormento h troppo austera? Era. 

Chi al mio soccorso h troppo tardo. Ardo. 
Cosi a vicenda dicean Ardo, & Era, 

Gionti in selna herma, e da Era, e da Ardo 

Sola a testificar chiamato Echo Era. 

..... i 

I have given these representative examples of the Italian echo-poems 
because a few from well-known authors may serve to indicate the general fact 
merely that the echo-device was common in Italy all through the century. 

At the end of the sixteenth century Battista Guarini took the trick- 
echo and piit it in its natural environment. His "Pastor Fido"^' contains a 
very clever manipulation of words and syllables in the manner of the echo. 
Says Greg: "These toys owed, not indeed their introduction, but certainly their 
great popularity in pastoral to Guarini." ^® And it was as a pastoral element^ 
that they swept across Europe in the sixteenth century. Of course, an echo 
would usually be used out-of-doors, and so the pastoral element was there at 
the beginning though in a small measure. But the interesting thing about 
this is its dramatic character. "Pastor Fido" was a pastoral play and not a 
pastoral poem. The words were spoken words, not merely reading for the 
study. The echoes were actual echoes, not delicate manipulations of a pen- 
and-ink scribe. The echo in "Pastor Fido" is dramatic. 

It seems scarcely profitable to follow the details of the Italian type further. 
Frankly, we have gone into it only in a superficial way, — sufficiently though 
to show that it was a trick of versification somewhat identified with pastoral 
poetry, which later came to be used in a dramatic manner m the pastoral play. 
It appeared frequently in Italian literature, that is all we need to know. 



»ed. Piu, 1822. v. 4, p. 110. 

'*The text U taken from a 1610 edition (Venice) Parte Terza, p. 11, but Sir Sidney Lee has an 
eailier, 1605, edition -where the poem appears on page 124. 

' ** Printed 1590, acted 1596, cf. Greg: "Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama/' p. 199, 207; Rossi: 
"BattisU Gnarini ed il Pastor Fido," p. 183, 228. 

>* Greg: "Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama," p. 199. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 15 



III 

The appearance in Italian was discussed first because it is usually in the 
Italian that scholars have seemed to find sources for Renaissance characterise 
tics. Although the court of love probably did come out of Provence, such other 
matters and manners as the heroic ladies, the pastoral idea, the conception of 
virtu, the neo-Platonic love of the soul, the very plots of Elizabethan comedies 
and romances had — in the opinion of scholars — their origins beneath the 
blue skies of enchanted Italy. But the same cannot be said with equal cer- 
tainty of the echo-device. No one has yet challenged the claim of Poliziana 
that his verses in 1498 deserve the priority in Italian. The year 1498 is not a 
very early date. Reference to French literature reveals at least one example, 
and that better phrased than the one of Poliziano. I quote from Gilles le 
Vinier, poet of the thirteenth century, giving only one strophe out of five, 
ffller Roquefort: 

Icelle est la tr^s-mignotte. Note (chanson). " . . ' 

K' amors fait savoir; Avoir 

Ke puet (qui peut) belle amie. Mie (pas). 

Ncl* (ne la) doit refuser; User 

En doit sans folie; Lie (douce). 

Est la paine a fius (aux vrais) amans.*^ 

On the whole it can with safety be asserted that the French literature is 
richer in examples of this rare device than the Italian, is earlier to begin, and 
ends with them more frequently used as pastoral elements. 

During the sixteenth century, we find an adequate number. G. du Pont 
in his "Art et Science de Rhetorique" gave in 1539 four good lines: 

"Qu'est-ca du monde la chose plus infame ? femme, 
Apres le faict, qu*est-ce qui la dif fame : fame. 
Qui la delivre, plus tost a Tabandon? don, 
Disent la saige, nulle loy ne canon ? non" 



''The bracketed words are modem equivalents for the old French. This is said to be the oldest in 
French, yet it is so well-developed a specimen that it may possibly not have been the only one of its time, 
(cf. "Biblioth^ue de Poche par une social de gens des lettres et d'^iidtts." "Ctiriosites Littdraires/' 
Paris, 1845» "Dies Vers en Echo/' p. 34.) We Imow practically nothing concerning the author save that he 
was a Norman trouvkre at Arras, in the Thirteenth Century. Chevalier's "Repertoire des sources historiques 
du moyen age/' v. 1, gives under '^Gilles de Viviers"; VOursel, N. biog. norm. 2: 182/' and in v. 2, under 
"Gilles de Vinier" gives the following: 

"Bergmans, Paul, dans Biog. Belgique. 12:44-5, Paris. Paulin, dans Hist. Litt. France, 23: 589>90. 
Passy, Louis, dant Bibl. de Tec d'Chartres, 5: 307-17. 
Raynaud, Chanson Fran^., 2:237 (Anciens textes, Frang., 32:2)." 

But even these bibliographical references give practically no help at all. It is entirely possible of course 
that the device came from a direct connection with the Byzantine Greeks — trouvhret were not unknown as 
travelers to Constantinople — but such an assumption would be merely guess-work and must not.be taken 
too seriously. There has even been falsely attributed to him a pastoral "Chanson de d6part pour la croisade," 
which further complicates the matter. Then Dinaujc, in "Les trouvtees" (1843), p. 222-227, says it is 
impossible to regard him as an old inhabitant of Artois. Then there is a German dissertation which collects 
a great deal and says very little: "Die Lieder des altfranxosichen lyrikers, Gille Le Vinier,". a dissertation 
by Albert Metcke, printed in 1906 at Halle. 



16 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

Rabelais, in the chapter, "Comment Panurge se conseiile a Pantagruel, 
pour s^avair s'il se doibt marier," adds a record of the date 1545.^^ In a little 
book, "Receuil de Urage Poesia Fran^oise," published in 1544, there is a 
rather long French example, "D'une dame qui se complaint a Echo de la perte 
de son amy/' ^^ and fetienne Pasquier in his "Recherches de la France," gives 
some in Latin and French, from the sixteenth century.^* Then Sebillot, in 
"L'Art Poetique Francois" (1548), where he makes a regular classification 
for the type, gives an example with authorship unattributed: ^^ 

"Respon, Echo, et bien que tu sois f emme, 
Dy verite, qui fait mordre la fame? 
J" ^ Qui est a chose ou moude plus in fame ? 

Qui plus engendre a Thomme de diffame? ^Femme 

Qui plus tost homme et maison riche aflPame? 
Qui feit Amour grand dieu et grand blaspheme? 
Qui grippe biens, agraphe corps, griflPe ame"? 

And then before we pass on to the Seventeenth Century where the device was 
more common, we must notice an early example in the "Roman d'Eneas." ^^ 

Passing the year 1600, the occurrences became very numerous.^*** It 
shall be sufficient for our purposes to quote only a few; first, a short one 
from Pierre de Saint Louis: 

"Que me fera T^poux dans sa souvesaine? 

— Reine. 

, > Et que donne le monde aux siens le plus souvent? 

— Vent:' 

Even were it not so neatly done, the name of its distinguished author 
would be sufficient excuse for quoting the following dialogue between a lover 
and echo, by Dubellay; and note in passing the distinctly pastoral setting: 

Piteuse ficho, qui erres en ce bois, 
Reponds au son de ma piteuse voix. 
D'ou ai-je pu ce grand mal concevoir? 
Qui m'ote ainsi de raison le devoir? De voir. 
Qui est Tauteur de ces maux advenus? Venus. 
Comment en sont tons mes sens devenus? Nuds. 
^ Qu' 6tais-je avant d'entrer dans ce passage? Sage. 
) Et maintenant que sens-je en mon courage? Rage. 

Qu'est-ce qu' aimer et s'en plaindre souvent? Vent. 
Que suis-je done lorque le coeur en fend? Enfant 
Qui est la fin de prison si obscure? Cure. 
Dis-moi quelle est celle pour qui j'endure? Dure. 
Sent-elle point la douleur qui me point? Point. 
O que cela me vient mal k point 1 
Me faut-il done (6 debile entreprisel) 
Lacher ma proie avant que Tavoir prise? 
Si vaut-il mieux avoir coeur mouirs hautain, 
Qu'ainsi languir sous espoir incertain. 



** Pantagraal, Book III, chapter 4. 

** Reprint of M. Paul Lacroix, 1869, p. 87. 

** liv. vii, ch. 12. 

» p. 201, ed. Paris, 1910. 

*«Bihl. Normannica. IV. Halle. 1891. 

'*-■ Larous5e, under heading "£cho" cites an echo-poem with triple refrain. Author nnknowa. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 17 

In France of the seventeenth century we find ( whether or not due to the 
influence of Guarini and his "Pastor Fido" we cannot say) that the same thing 
happened as in Italy; namely, that the echo-device was taken up by the writers 
of pastorals and became extremely popular in that connection.^^ The instances 
are so numerous and the space necessary to explain the various situations, if 
I should quote them, would be so great, that there is room here only for the 
bare list of French pastorals. It is evident that here the voice of Echo was 
ever ready to respond when an author wished to address her. She speaks 
clearly and distinctly, sometimes significantly, in these French pastorals: 
-U Folic de Silene" (1624), '*Le Guerrier repenti" (1625), "La Princesse" 
(1627), "Carite" (1627), the first "Sylvanire" (1627), "Chinene" (1627), 
and "Philine" ( 1630). To this list we must add a very good one in "L'Astree 
de Messire Honore D'Urfe" (1647),^® and lastly a humorous application of 
the idea in a sort of burlesque pastoral by Thomas Corneille, "Le Berger Ex- 
travagant" (1653), in which a character imitates the visionary nymph and 
there is no real echo at all,^^ the echo becoming a subject of ridicule in France, 
as it was in England in 1653 in Butler's "Hudibras." 

Even though we end this section of the essay with the note of ridicule, 
with extravagant shepherds, the contribution of the French to the art of echoes 
must nevertheless be taken very seriously.^^ If it seems claiming too much to 
say that France and not Italy must be credited with the modern invention of 
the device, or that it flourished in Gallic rather than in Latin lands, it must 
be admitted that France, at least, deserves credit for the earliest example we 
can discover in Western Europe, that of Gilles de Vinier. In architecture 
and painting, and in many forms of literature, Italians may possibly have 
been the leaders of the Renaissance. But it has become altogether too much 
of"a habit to grant them everything. Whatever may be true of other forms, 
methods, and devices of art, in this small matter the French must be granted 
the first known use of the device. This may not amount to much, but then 
again it may be very significant. In tracing the progress of a single technical 
trick through the mazes of comparative literature we may be tracing the course 
of greater movements. A small and trivial harbor buoy may indicate the direc- 
tion of important currents. For these reasons we must be very cautious in 
our conclusions, especially when they seem to go against the usual opinions 
that early technical devices in the Renaissance literary art are almost all known 
to have originated in Italy. Literary historians are very insistent on this 
point. We know that "The Greek Anthology" was rather generally known 
throughout Italy and France during the sixteenth century. But we can learn 

^ Cf. Marsan, passim, and particularly at page 201, note 7. 
» Vol. II, p. 6. 
» Act I, Scene V. 
** Note 30 omitted. 



18 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

something from considering the dates of a few of these examples. It seems 
that the device was by 1550 well established in both France and Italy, getting 
into the collections of poetry which were printed after the manner of the Eng- 
lish poetic miscellanies, and also into the technical treatises on the art of 
versification. It is especially significant that Rabelais ridiculed the type in 
1545, because it must by that time have been well established to be worthy of 
notice. In the great spread of the device it is at l^st certain that we find our 
earliest example in the French (Gilles de Vinier), but the position of Italy 
alone as originator of other devices ^* entitles her to mention, particularly since 
Italy seems to have furnished a rather goodly number of examples. Yet this 
is all preliminary and may be settled at some other time, for our chief interest 
here is in the conclusion that the echo-device was in general use and growing 
popularity on the continent in mid-century, just prior to its first appearance in 
England. 

Appendix to Section III I 

It would be unwise to leave the regions of the romance languages without some state- 
ment as to some representative items from Spanish literature. In the "Arte Poetica Espanola" 
(1592) of Juan Diaz Rengifo, there are some passages on the type with illustrative examples. 
(Rengifo has been condemned for paying too much attention to trivial details, by D. Marcelino 
Menedez y Pelayo in **Historia de las Ideas Esteticas en Espaiia,'' v. 3, p. 318.) In the "fievue 
Hispaaiaue" for October, 1915 (v. 35, p. 45-76), Marcel Gauthier has collected a large number 
of real echo verses from Spanish manuscript sources. Also he heads his list with "Dialogo 
entre un Galan y el Echo," by Baltasar del Alcazar (likewise to be found in "Biblioteca de 
Autores Espaiioles," v. 32, p. 408), which Menendez y Pelayo says is the only very good echo- 
poem in Spanish (cf. prologue to Lope de Vega's "Obra," Academy Edition, v. 2, p. 59). 

In the "Cancionero'' (cf. ed. Sevilla, 1874, p. 265 If.) of Sebastian de Horozco (late six- 
teenth century) there are four different dialogues with Echo as a respondent, the other char- 
acters who speak in each case being, respectively, a knight, his lady, a discontented man, and 
a contented monk. An echo is found in Moreto's play "Los empefios de un engano" ("Bib- 
lioteca de Autores Espanoles" [de Rivadeneyra] . v. 39, p. 530); and an echo scene with a 
real Echo answering in "El Prado de Valencia," a play by Canon Tarrega ("Biblioteca de 
Autores Espaiioles" [de Rivadeneyra], v. 43, p. 39). 

Lope de Vega was very partial to the trick. In his comedy, "La Fianza Satis fecha." 
Christ appears as the Good Shepherd in Jornada III, responding in echoes to the penitent 
Leonido: a characteristic use. Lope employed the device in "Loa Sacramental del Eco** 
("Obras," v. 2, p. 245) ; in "Auto de los Cantarcs" ("Biblioteca de Autores Espaiioles," v. 58. 
p.' 187) ; in "El Remedio en La Desdicha" (v. 11, p. 171), the following: 

*'iSoj stt hermano? Digo, htrmano. 
Y responde el eco, no.' 

in echo sonnets in "Los palacios de Galiana" (v. 13, p. 199) ; in "La Fuerza lastimosa" (v. 14. 
p. 23); in "San Isidro labrador de Madrid" (v. 4, p. 583); and in one regular echo song 
(v.4, p.291). 

Of more recent date occurs an instance by Ruben Dario, "Eco y Yo," included as number 
205 in "The Oxford Book of Spanish Verse." 



** The history of the iMistoral idea from Bion and Moschus to Vergil, to the Renaissance Italian, and 
thence to France and England is reasonably clearly developed. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 19 

IV 

When we turn to English literature we do not find the echo-device used 
until well into the Elizabethan period. This is rather strange as we know that 
Chaucer and others imitated French verse forms in ballades, roundels, and 
plaints, and yet did not imitate the echo-poem which already existed in France 
in a high degree of development.^^ Furthermore it has been suggested that 
the closely allied "link-verse" came into Britain from Wales, where it was 
very popular,^^ and it would not seem unreasonable that the echo-device might 
have accompanied it in the migration. These two facts would incline one to 
believe that the type we are studying existed in England at a much earlier 
date than I have actually been able to discover. Such poems, if written at all. 
would probably have been done by courtiers who were amateur poets. They 
did not print their verses; they passed them around privately among their 
friends, or publicly among the court. These were light and ephemeral things 
to which no significance or importance was attached, and so they escaped preser- 
vation. There is no good reason for not believing that the very few manu- 
script miscellanies which have survived^* represent any large proportion of 
what was actually written, for the poems therein included were merely those 
which happened to be grouped into miscellanies which in their turn merely hap- 
pened not to have been lost. We shall therefore, for the present, assume that 
echo-poems were written in England prior to the late date at which I have 
discovered my first. 

It was in 1575 that George Gascbigne presented in honor of Elizabeth 
"The Princely Pleasures of Kenilworth Castle," in whicK appeared the first 
actual versified echo in English literature, and that in a dramatic form. 

There is a certain type of critic always willing to insist upon heaven- 
bom, earth-blown inspiration and to neglect the perfectly obvious sources.^^ 
These would have us believe, probably, that this pastoral praise of Gloriana 
dropped in the year 1575 from the blue witchery of enchanted Warwickshire 
skies. If they had their will, we should assume that in 1575 the wrath of Juno 
was suddenly re-instigated against the talkativeness of maidens, or that on the 
slopes near Kenilworth another wood nymph pined away for love of another 
Narcissus, until naught but her voice was left. Thus, if we were imaginative 
enough, and retained an ardent faith in the Gods of Greece, we might easily 
explain this sudden re-appearance of "the mountain-rock's child. Echo," with- 
out the necessity of research. 

But we are skeptical rather than dogmatic, and believe the great Olympians 
are no more. 

"The Gods are dead, the pipes of Pan are still." 

■■ Sc« that by Gilles de Vinier quoted above. ' 

•Erakinc:* "The Elizabethan Lyric." p. 41. 

••<«Anglia," V. 26. p. 172, Ewald Flugel: ^'LiedersammlunKen des XVI Jahrhundert." 

** Well illustrated by the detractors of Sir Sidney Lee and his theory of the Elizabethan ',toniii^t. 
They insist on the value of internal evidence and on jthe sincerity of passion, as against the clear facts of 
external criticism, in the case of men who borrowed straightway from abroad and gavi^''*transTatioiis' and 
■tlent imitations.'* •• . • ' 



20 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

There was no actual echo that day at Kenilworth Castle, but probably only 
an actor concealed in the same bushes from which Gascoigne had emerged. 
Moreover, the literary device was also likely an artificial thing of literary 
origins. Who shall say that Gascoigne had not been reading the Greek An- 
thology,^* or Ovid, or the French who employed this trick in versifying, or 
the numerous Italians, Poliziano, Tebaldeo, PoUastrino, or San Martino?^^ 
So close were literary relations between the nations at this time that it seems 
useless to insist that the echo-device most probably came to Gascoigne — if 
not indeed earlier to all England -^ from other lands and languages and not 
from the immediate glens and hills.^^ It was distinctly an artificial form, a 
"stunt," and such things are accustomed to travel from book to book and can 
be traced from book to book with a fair degree of certainty. Our opinion, 
therefore, is that the echo-dialogue came into English literature from Con- 
tinental literature. In this particular our opinion coincides with the njore 
general statement of Sir Sidney Lee: 

"As soon as one closely compares the tone and language of the Elizabethan lyric with 
those of the lyric in France and Italy during the same epoch, or in the epoch immediately 
preceding the Elizabethan, as soon as one realizes the persistent intercourse between Eliza- 
bethan England and the cultivated nations of Europe, one is brought to the conclusion that 
the Elizabethan lyric in nearly all its varied shapes of song and sonnet was, to a very large 
extent, directly borrowed from foreign lands. It may be safely predicated that, had not 
foreign literature supplied the initiative and the example, the Elizabethan lyric would not 
have come into being, at any rate in the shape which is familiar to us. Our ancestors often 
improved conspicuously on their foreign models ; they gave fuller substance, fuller beauty to 
the poetry which they adopted to their own tongue from Latin or Greek, from French or 
Italian. But the inspiration, the invention, is no.purely English product. The English render- 
ings are as a rule too literal to be reckoned in a justly critical estimate, among wholly original 
compositions." • 

After the first appearance of the echo-device in Gascoigne's verses of 
1575, we find that Thomas Watson ^^ did some echo verses in "Hekatompathia" 
(1581), George Peele in his formal ^'Arraignment of Paris" (1584), and 
finally Sir Philip Sidney in "The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia" (1590). 
From that time until the middle of the Seventeenth Century the echo-dialogue 
was very common, -^ before 1600 chiefly in poetry, later abundantly on the 
stage. We can see, from the manner of its first occurrence, how it was used in 
a very formal way, usually identified with the pastoral idea, if not with pastoral 
practice. Its possibilities for dramatic purposes were soon recog^nized by 
Elizabethan playwrights who sought eagerly for things to catch the fancy of 
the audience, any means to render their plays more complicated and therefore 
more interesting. But the strict chronological order is not really the best 
method for discussing this subject, for it often happens in literature that mere 



**A mere glance at the large number of sixteenth century editions of the Anthology listed in the 
''British Museum Catalogue" and in that of the "Biblioth^ue Nationale," will indicate the probability of 
such a fact. 

** Sir Sidney L«e writes to me that he judges the many echo-poems by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, 
from which I have quoted extensively, to be imitated from the Italian. 

**This in spite of the fact that in bis other work Gascoigne seems to inherit more directly from his 
native Chaucer than from Italy. 

* Elizabethan Sonnets (1904)» v. ], p. XII. 

^ From whose later "Teares of Fancie" (1593) we have already quoted. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 21 

chronology is as little significant as the alphabet. The material shall be divided 
into three groups, discussing in turn the employment of the echo-device in 
poems, in pastorals, and in plays, taking the poems first. Of course it is not 
possible to press this division too far, for the books we shall examine were 
almost all in verse, they almost all have their echo scenes in pastoral mood, 
and their employment of the device is almost always in the nature of dramatic 
presentation of dialogue. But the classification, though not exact, is useful. 



V 

Poems 

We begin with the poems and immediately discover that Sir Philip Sidney, 
who eschewed it in his short lyrics and sonnets — its most common locus — 
found it serviceable in his "'Arc adia" ( 1 590). Placed there in a pastoral envi- 
ronment and in the life of characters whose very emotions seem cold and 
artificial, it displays immediately something of that conscious artistry in manu- 
facture which I believe George Gascoigne must have felt. Furthermore, the 
whole trick of its success is revealed by the rubric with which Sidney introduces 
the passage: 

"Then the king willed Chilisides to declare the discourse of his own 
fortunes, unknown to them, as being a stranger in that country; but he prayed 
the king to pardon him, the time being far too joyful to suffer the rehearsal 
of his miseries. But to satisfy Basilius some way, he began an eclogue betwixt 
himself and the Echo, framing his voice so in these desert places, as what words 
he would have the Echo reply unto; these he would sing higher than the rest, 
and so kindly framed a disputation betwixt himself and it, which with these 
Hexameters in the following order he uttered": 

Philisides and Echo 

Fair rocks, goodly rivers, sweet woods, when shall I see peace ? Peace, 

Peace ? what bars me my tongue ? who is it that comes me so nigh ? /. 

Oh ! I do know what guest I have met, it is echo. 'Tis Echo, 

Well met, echo, approach : then tell me they will too. / will too. 

Echo, what do I get yielding my spirit to my griefs? Griefs. 

What medicine may I find for a grief that draws me to death? Death, 

O poisonous medicine 1 what worse to me can be thou it? //. 

In what state was I then, when I took this deadly disease? Ease, 

And what manner a mind which had to that humour a vain ? Vain, 

Hath not reason enough vehemence the desire to reprove? Prove, 

Oft prove I : but what salve, when reason seeks to be gone ? One, 

Oh I what is it ? what is. it that may be a salve to my love ? Love, 

What do lovers seek for, long seeking for to enjoy? Joy, 

What be the joys, which for to enjoy they went to the pains? Pains, 

Then to an earnest love what doth best victory lend? End. 

End ? but I can never end, love will not give me leave ? Leave, 

How be the minds dispos'd that cannot taste thy physick? Sick, . 

Yet say again thy advice for the evils that I told thee ? / told thee. 

Doth th' infected wretch of his harm th' extremity know? No. 

But if he know not his harms, what guides hath he while he be blind? Blind, 



IJJt I(o7(/.^0 



JUL 27 1920 



^jgoL c£J^-> 



REPRIHTCD. JULY ItXO 

FROM TMC 

• ULLETIN OP THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

OF NOVEMBER-OECEHfER Itit 



PRIMTED AT THE NEW YORK FUiLIC LIBRARY 
form P-U7 [rl-n-w Sc] 



NOTE 

SINCE prefatory remarks are usually intended to tell all the good points 
of a work and to excuse all the bad ones, it is necessary to state here 
that this study was undertaken and completed because the author wished 
to find out something of the use of the echo-device in literature and 
because he discovered that nothing had been written on the subject, if we 
are to except a couple of columns in Larousse, a page or so in D'Israeli, 
a few paragraphs in a curious old French book of 1845, "Biblioth^ue de 
Poche i>ar une Soci^^ de gens des lettres et ^'^i^^^^^s/' ^^^ some 
scattered references in "Notes and Queries." After collecting about a 
hundred items, he discussed the matter with Mr. R. S. Forsythe, who 
exchanged references and made some mention of this matter in a foot- 
note to his volume on ''Shirle/s Plays and the Elizabethan Drama." 
Some other friends have been gracious enough to assist, notably. Sir 
Sidney Lee, Mr. P. Henriquez Urena, Prof. Colbert Searles, and Prof. 
J. B. Fletcher. To all of these the most sincere thanks are due for the 
appearance of this i>aper. It is only with great difficulties that it finally 
emerges from the press, begun in undergraduate days, continued during 
an instructor ship at Columbia, carried on in the course of a year of study 
abroad, put into temporary shape amid teaching at Minnesota, read in 
part before the Central Division of the Modem Language Association, 
and finally completed in the intervals of more active and necessary mili- 
tary life. Its only excuse for publication is its unique quality, for it is 
the only study of the sort that has ever been attempted, and it is, I believe, 
reasonably complete. 



Ax Echo 

XcTcr sleep ing , still awake. 

Pleasing most when most I speak; 

The del^ilit of old and joim& 

TboQg^ I speak without a toogve. 

Xom^it but one dung can confoimd me, 

Jlany voices jonung round me; 

Then I fret, and raw, and gabble. 

Like the laboarers of BabeL 

Nov I am a dog, or cow, 

I can bark, or I can low; 

Tcan bleat, or I can sing, 

like the warblers of tfx spring. 

Let tfK lovesick bard complain 

And I moom the cmd pain ; 

Let the happjr swain rejoice. 

And I join my helping TOtoe : 

Both are welcome, grief or joy, 

I with either sport and toy. 

TboQgli a lady, I am stoat, 

Dnnns and trmnpets bring me out : 

Then I clash, and roar, and rattle. 

Join in all the din of battle. 

Jore, with all his loudest thunder. 

When Vm Text, can't keep me under ; 

Yet so tender is my ear. 

That the lowest voice I fear ; 

Much I dread the courtier's fate. 

When his merit's out of date. 

For I hate a silent breath. 

And a whisper is my death. 



— Dean Swirr. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 



The Introduction of the Echo-Device into English Literature 

"Dear Pan, 

Drawing the pipe over thy lips, 
Abide here. 
For thou wilt find Echo on these sunny greens." 

It was very simple and easy for the human imagination to conceive a 
person in the distance, returning a mocking answer to loud shoutings. As 
most good things in modern literature and life find their parallels in Greek 
civilization, so here we find the. earliest written personification of "the moun- 
tainrock's child Echo," in the "Hecuba" of Euripides (425 B. C.).^ And also 
in the Greek we find the first echo-dialogue in literature in the complete metrical 
form in which it will later be defined in this paper.^ 

The echo-dialogue has been prominent and frequent in literature — in 
English as well as in that of other nations. English literature, of the Renais- 
sance, owed a great deal in form and phrase, in technique and in substance to 
continental forms. The echo was commonly introduced into pastorals, and 
was, whether appearing in the scene of a dramatic piece or in an isolated sonnet 
or lyric poem, a product of conscious care and precise artistry. It was a sophis- 
ticated element, — and like most sophisticated elements came from the French 
and the Italian. But if we try to trace origins we go back and back until we 
lose burselves in the night of time. Back to the Greeks we go,^ and there in 
the famous Anthology which Dr. Johnson used to translate before breakfast 
we find a poem of the poet Gauradas, evidently dating from the Byzantine 
period, a period — it is to be noted — of conscious artistry, and a poem — it 
is likewise to be noted — written by a man with a reputation for metrical whims. 



^Agamemnon hastens in answer to Polymestor's cry for rescue: 

Hearing a shout, I came; for in no whispers 
The mountain-rock's child Echo through the host 
Cried, waking tumult. Knew we not the towers 
Of Phrygia of the spear of Greeks had fallen 
No little panic had this clangour raised. 

This in the Greek reads: 

Koauyt^S dxouoag ^Xdov* ov yoQ ^cirxfiz 
XleTQa; 6<^£ia; Jiai; Xikaa* dvd <nQaxov 
'Hxd> 6i5oD0a i)6<^v6av* el bk \ii\ (pQvyiby 
IIvoYOus rt€o<Wxa5 i\a\Jie\ ^EXXrivcov 6o(?i, 
<^6^ov Jia<^eaxev ov \iea(aq 56e xmTog. 

'There is one in an old Arabic manuscript, which, however, does not personify the echo: "I came 
to the place of my birth, and cried, The friends of my youth, where are theyf And an echo answered, 
IVhete are theyf" 

* William S. Walah: "Handbook of Literary Curiosities*' (p. 261), suspects that the actual echo-device 
was used by Euripides in his lost drama Andromeda, "as indicated by Aristophanes' ridicule of it in *The 
Thesmophoriazusae' (B. C. 410) 11. 1056-1097, ed. B. B. Rogers, 1904." 

[S] 



6 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

repetitions, and palindromes. (The following has been transcribed into Attic 
Greek: ) 

& noQd Tov nav6c 
'Hx^ <pU,T| |u>i ovYxaxoCvEo^v tu — xi; ' 

'E^ xoouncTis i\ bi |i'oO <piXft — qnXeL 

Tv To(vw a^kfi Xi(ov &q iQ&, — iQ&, 

Kal JcCoTiv ailrrn xe<^|iiiT(0v x^ 66?. — ri) 56^. 

'Hx(i^> Ti XouioO, fl II660U Tvxciv. — tvxelv. 

A free translation of this would read:* 

Pan Deems to Speak 
Beloved echo wilt thou favour me to some degree? 

To some degree f 
A little maiden I adore ; not mt, however, she doth love. 

She doth love. 
For loving Opportunity ne*er the moment fit does come? 

It does come! , 

Thou therefore tell her I adore her. 

Ay, adore her! 
To her a trifling pledge of coins give thou. 

Give thou! 
Echo, what remains but my yearning to obtain? 

To obtain. 

t • 

That we find the echo-dialogue in the Greek is significant in one degree 
only. Our records of Hellenic civilization are reasonably complete, — far 
more so than those we have of other ages. Minerva may have sprung full 
panoplied from the head of Jove, but Grecian culture did not appear in any 
such instantaneous fashion, a sudden intelligence in a war-like and barbaric 
age. Athens had its forerunners no less than Paris, London, and Berlin. That 
previous obscurity prevents our having earlier records is no indication that the 
echo-dialogue, as any other form in art, architecture, or literature, did not 
previously exist. In the full light of an age of effulgence a great deal of trivial 
detail is shown, in darkened centuries much is lost, and only the broader things 
of greater moment remain. Earlier echoes may have gone off into darkness 
and never returned to the light. It is then very probable that there may have 
been occurrences which we cannot discover. And yet all of this fanciful con- 
struction of probabilities may be entirely wrong. What time more likely for 
the invention of curious artistic devices than a period of mere inventiveness 
following a great outburst of song, and true lyric invention? Was not the 
age of those whom Dr. Johnson called the "Metaphysical School" — where 
we find many echo-verses — such a period ? Does not the Byzantine period, in 
which this poet Gauradas has been placed, come under the same classification ? 

* Very difficult to translate on account of the character of the Greek verbs, where the subject and 
object are so often implicit. This was translated into Latin by Hugo Grotius in 1799: 

Pan loquitur 
• Echo docebis mene quae volo? volo. 

Amare me» sed non amari ama? Ama. 
Fruine tempus ut queam dabit? dabit. 
Fer verba amoris signa quern feram? feram. 
Fidem sed auri te rogo duis, duis. 
Echo quid ultra restat? an frui? frui. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 7 

We do know at least that the use of an actual verbal echo in literature 
dates from the Greek Anthology and the Byzantine period. Further than 
that its history can be briefly sketched. It first appeared in Western Europe, 
in the French in the poems of a thirteenth century Trouvere of Arras, and then 
in the Elizabethan period became extremely popular and its use spread to 
Spain and England, usually as a complement of pastoral poetry. In England, 
however, after its first introduction in 'The Princely Pleasures of Kenilworth 
Castle" (1575), it got into the drama, where it was used for humorous effect, 
as a terror device, and as a reflection of important, or fatalistic, introspective 
ideas. It was distinctly an irregular and artificial type and, since the advent 
of "the classical rule" of the Eighteenth Century, has almost completely died 
out, except in vers de societS, where its use is doubtless related directly to 
similar occurrences in Elizabethan sonnets and other lyric poems of courtly 
compliment. Its strangest manifestation, however, is its recent almost inex- 
plicable appearance in German war poems of the present day. ' 

Before we proceed further with the subject it might be well to give a 
definition of the three main types of the device: 

( I ) The echo-device in its purest form appears almost as actual conversa- 
tion between a character and the echo, where, without the insertion of explana- 
tory phrases in the text itself, the final syllables or final words of a line of 
poetry are echoed back from an unseen distance so as to make a comment on 
the sentiments or to answer a question of the speaker. In other words, the 
lyric monologue is transformed into a dialogue. As a good example of the 
•first and most usualtype of this device which I am going to discuss, there is 
a poem by George Herbert, entitled "Heaven": 

O who will show me these delights on high? 

Echo, I, 
Thou Echo, thou art Mortall, all men know. 

Echo, No. 
Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves? 

Echo, Leaves. 
And are there any leaves that still abide? 

Echo, Bide. 
What leaves are they? Impart the matter wholly. 

Echo, Holy. 
Are holy leaves the Echo then of blisse ? 

Echo, Yes. 
Then tell me, what is that supreme delight? 

Echo, Light. 
Light to the minde ; what shall the will enjoy? 

Echo, Joy. 
But are there cares and businesse with the pleasure ? 

Echo, Leisure. 
Light, joy, and leisure; but shall they persever? 

Echo, Ever.* 

{II) It will be seen that in this poem the words repeated form no part 
of the lines and have no place in the rythm and meter of the verses. The poem 

* Written certainly before 1633, and possibly before 1613. 



8 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

is complete as the poet pronounced it and the echo merely makes additional 
statements.^ But often the author has deemed it necessary to introduce into 
the text some such words as "Echo answered," "Echo replied," or "And Echo 
said," fitting them into the rythm and meter of the verse. We find an example 
of this second type in Thomas Watson's sonnet sequence "The Tears of Fancie" 
(1593), where the lover weeps and groans out his sorrows in the conventional 
way for an unrequited love:^ 

Taking a truce with teares sweete pleasures foe, 

I thus began hard by the f ountayne side : 
O deere copartner of my wretched woe, 

No sooner saide but woe poore eccho cride. 
Then I again what woe did these betide, 

That can be greater than disdayne, disdayne : 
Quoth eccho. Then sayd I O womens pride, 

Pride answered eccho. O inflicting payne, 
When wofuU eccho payne agayne repeated, 

Redoubling sorrow with a sorrowing sound : 
For both of us were now in sorrow seated. 

Pride and disdaine disdainef uU pride the ground. 
That forst poore Eccho mourne ay sorrowing ever, 

And me lament in teares ay ioyning never. 

(Ill) Again, in what I shall call the third type, the device is seen intro- 
duced in a slightly different way, where it is not deemed necessary to put in 
the explanatory phrases; but where the actual words and their echoes do not 
necessarily come at the end of the line, but may come at almost any point, 
sometimes even two echoes to a line. Here the repeated phrases form part 
and parcel of the measure of the song which would not be complete without 
them. And this type is that more usually employed in the drama, w^here stage 
directions obviate the necessity of the explanatory phrases found in type two. 
and where the irregularities and broken lines of blank verse permit, and even 
encourage, the insertion of syllables sent back to answer the speaker: 

What is the Fair, to whom so long I plead ? Lead. 
What is her face, so angel-like? Angel-like, 
Then unto Saints in mind, Sh'is not unlike? Unlike, 
What may be hoped of one so evil natVed? Hatred. 

O then my woes, how shall I hope best? Hope best. 
Then She is flexible? She is flexible f 
Fie, no, it is impossible I Possible. 
About her straight then only our bestl You're best! 
How must I first her loves to me approve? Prove! 
How if She say I may not kiss her? Kiss her! 
For all her bobs I must them bear, or miss her? Yes, sir! 
Then will She yield at length to Love? To Love! 

Even sol Even so! By A^arcwj^ is it true? True! 

Of thine honesty? /Adieu! Adieu! ^ 



* This type is of course paralleled by such poems as **A Report Son? in a Dream, between a Shepherd 
and a Nymph," by Nicholas Breton, printed in "England's. Helicon" (1600), where there is not really an 
echo-device, but merely a repetition for musical effect. We only include actual verbal echoes in this study. 

* Sonnet 29. 

» W. Percy's "Coelia," 1594, Sonnet IS. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 9 

And now that we have defined the echo-device as it shall be considered 
in this paper, in its three types, the first where the echoes are separate from 
the verse and come at the end of the line, the second where they are inserted in 
the verses themselves along with what for want of a better term we may call 
the stage directions, and the third where they are incorporated in the verse 
itself without comment, — now that we have defined the type itself, we may 
well devote a little time to rejecting the many other forms of trick phrasing 
which various persons have called by the term which we insist belongs to these 
three types and these alone. These other forms will be discussed in an order 
which will, in addition to recording our objections to some forms, give some 
idea of the manner in which the echo-device may have developed. 

We shall not give the name of echo-verses to the clever little things turned - 
out in France by Clement Marot and by Cretin, equivocal punning lines which * 
should be more properly designated by their true title ryme conronnee. For 
example, here is a stanza from Marot: 

La blanche coloir.belle belle 

Souvent je vay priant criant: 
Mais dessoulz la cordelle d'elle 

Me gette un oeil f riant riaiit, 
En me consommant et sommant 

A douleur qui ma face efface: 
Dont suy le reclamant' Amant, 

Qui pour Toutrepasse trepasses. 

And a clever bit from Cretin: 

Par ces vins verds Atropos a trop os 

Des corps humains suez, en vers en vers 
Dont un quidam aspie-aux-pot a propos 

A fort blame ses tours perverse par vers . . . 

It is quite obvious that these, however fantastic and charming in them- 
selves, are in no sense of the word echo-poems. Not only is there no personifica- 
tion, but neither is there a real verbal echo. They are puns and nothing more, 
evidences of fantastic phrasing in an age of intricate versification continually 
striving after new tricks. Yet, when we come to look into the ingenious 
rhymesters of the Renaissance, we find among the conscious and sophisticated 
artistry of the Italians some indications of verses, some verses of a type which 
might have been the immediate origin of the echo-device, however little they 
may really deserve the title of echo-poem which some scholars have given 
them. Serafino dell' Aquilano did a bi-lingual poem in Latin and Italian, which 
dates probably from 1502: 

Ave di cieli imperatrice e santa, 

Maria exaltata nel divin cospetto, 

Gratia feconda, senz' alcun diffetto, 

Plena de caritate tutta quanta. 
Dominus de la tua came santa 

Tecum de Spirito Santo fu concetto 

E benedetto e il latte del tuo petto. 

Tu consepisti, o graziosa pianta. 



30 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

in "The Princess" (1847). These stanzas of Cowley's conform, then, to tlie 
requirements for type two: 

Beneath this gloomy shade, 
By nature only for ;ny sorrows made, 

ril spend this voyce in crys, 

In tears FIl waste these eyes 

By Love so vainly fed ; 
So Lust of old the Deluge punished. 

Ah wretched youth! said I. 
Ah wretched youth! twice did I sadly cry: 
Ah wretched youth! the fields and floods reply. 

When thoughts of love I entertain, 
I meet no words but Never, and In vain. 

Never (alas) that dreadful name, 

Which fewels the infernal fiame: 

Never, my time to come must waste : 
In vain, torments the present, and the past. 

In vain, in vain! said I: 
In vain, in vain! the fields and floods reply." 

It now remains for us to pass on to the particular form which I have 
classified as type three, where it is not deemed necessary for the author to 
insert such words as "She answers," or "The unseen virgin answers." This 
kind of an echo-device is not such smooth and perfect poetry as is that in type 
two, but it is much nearer in style to the dramatic form which we shall .discuss 
in the next section of this paper. Here, as in type one, the author iftserts 
indications as to which character is speaking, but these indications are not to 
be read with the verse, as in type two. I have already cited a good instance, 
taken from William Percy's "Coelia" (1594),^^ and mention another 
which is a much simpler piece, from Lord Herbert of Cherbury's "Ditty'' ("To 
the tune of a che del quanto mio of Pesarino")^^: 

Where now shall these accents go? 

At which creatures silent grow 
While Woods and Rocks do speak. 

And seem to break 

Complains too long for them to hear, 

Saying I call in vain : Echo — All in vain. 

* * * 

Where there is no relief : Echo — Here is no relief. 



** Another, and a late example, is to be found in Dryden "The Spanish Friar" (1681), Act V, Scene II: 

"He lives! he lives! my royal father lives! 
Let everyone partake the general joy. 
Some angel with a golden trumpet sound. 
King Sancho lives! and let the echoing skies 
From pole to pole resound, King Sancho lives!*' ) 

Also compare "An Hymen," by Phineas Fletcher, printed with "The Purple Island" (1633) of 'which the 
eleventh stanza contains the line: 

"Hymen! oh Hymen! Hymen! all the Tallies ring." 

But these, though actual echoes, are getting away from the true type of the echo considered as a combined 
verse-form and dramatic interpretation. See also Sonnet 8, in H. Constable's "Diana" (1584). 

"Sonnet 15, quoted among the definitions in section I of this paper. 

" See statement in the footnote above to the effect that Sir Sidney Lee believes that Lord Herbert 
imitated chiefly the Italians. ^ ' 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 31 

Ah, why then should I fear 
Unto her rocky heart to speak that grief 
In whose laments these bear a part? 
Then, cruel heart, 
Do but some answer give. 
I do but crave. Do you forbid to live or bid to live ? " 
Echo — Live. 

The next is a very early example, one of the earliest in the language. Its 
method of inserting the responses in the body of the poem is similar to that of 
the poem just quoted; but it has an additional point of interest. It is built 
somewhat on the rhetorical principle of redii^lic.ai.Wj_ though not exactly, by 
which every clause begins with some word^or phrase in the end of the preceding 
clause. The connection is thus very close between this poem — though not 
the type — and the antique "link verses" which I have already explained. I 
mention this here merely to emphasize the artificiality of this sort of writing 
and the very great probability of a purely literary ancestry for this device as 
it was used in England. The prefatory note is also interesting, both on account 
of the reference to Ovid and on account of the characterization of Echo as a 
creature who increases here, as she usually does in all these poems, the dilemma 
of the lover. And yet her speech is concerned chiefly with herself and her own 
woes, somewhat after the manner of the twenty-first sonnet of William Smith's 
"Chloris" (1596) quoted above. In view of all these things the early date 
of this poem is significant, for it is taken from Thomas Watson's "Heka- 
tompathia*' (1581). The note on the "pointing of the words" is especially 
significant. 

(It is to be considered in reading this Passion, howe, in some answeres, the accent or 
poynting of the words is altered, and therewithal howe the Authour walking in the woods, 
and bewayling his inward passion of Love, is contraried by the replies of Echo: whose mean- 
ing yet is not so much to gainsay him, as to expresse her* own miserable estate in daily con- 
suming away for the love of her beloved Narcisstts; whose unkindnes Ovid describeth at 
large, together with the extreme love of Echo.) 

Author: "In all this world I thinke none love's but I 

Echo: None loves but I. Author: Thou foolish tattling ghost. 

In this thou telst a lie. Echo: Thou telst a lie. 
Author: Why? Love him selfe he lodgeth in my brest. 
Echo: He lodgeth in my brest. Author: I pine for grief e; ^ ^^ / 

And yet I want relief e. Echo: 1 want relief e. 
Author: No starre more faire then she whom I adore. 
Echo: Then *he, whom I adore. Author: Herehence I burne 

Stil more and more. Echo : O burne stil more and more. 
Author: Love, let my heart returne. Echo. My heart, returne. 
Author: Is then the Saint, for whom thou makest mone. 

And whom I love, but one? Echo: I love but one. 
Author: O heav'ns, is there in love no ende of ills? 
Echo: In love no end of ills. Author: Thou pratling voice, 

Dwelst thou in th' ayre, or but in hollow hills? 
Echo: In hollow hills. Author: Cease of to vaunt thy choyse. 
Echo: Cease of to vaunt thy choyse. Author: I would replie, 

But here for love I die. Echo: For love I die. 

* S liquescens immutat sensum, 

** The repetition "forbid to live or bid to live" without the implicmtion of any echo is very timilat H 
Harot's and Cretin's echoing and punning verses. 



32 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

We have now seen examples of the three types of echo poems which were 
distinguished in the section devoted to defining the device, and we have seen 
by several examples a large number of minor variations within the limits of 
the types there laid down. But we have been studying chiefly matters of form 
with only scant, and occasional, comments as to the thought usually expressed 
in this curious way. This method was rendered somewhat necessary by the 
fact that this is a scrutiny of a certain kind of technique, not an historical or 
philosophical study of ideas and ideals. Furthennore we have seen that prac- 
tically nothing can be made of the matter of chronology, for 1575, when our 
specimens first begin, is so ridiculously late a date that the period of evolu- 
tion, or of adoption, from a foreign language was already quite complete. In 
fact types one and three ape actually represented in Gascoigne (1575) and in 
Thomas Watson (1581), and the two methods of inserting the echoes (either 
at the end of every line or only at the end of occasional lines) are likewise 
represented in these same two early poets, who also give both attitudes toward 
the rhyme, neglecting it as was most frequently done, or utilizing it in a regular 
way. The logical conclusion to be drawn then is that by 1581 the English were 
well acquainted with this literary device and that Gascoigne and Thomas Wat- 
son copied it either from earlier English poems which are now lost, or from 
foreign specimens which might easily have come to their attention. 

As to the manner in which the elusive Echo is supposed to behave her- 
self, we find that her conduct sometimes varied enough to prevent a rigid classi- 
fication. Usually the device was used so as to give a plain question-and-answer 
dialogue. Yet it sometimes* happened, as in the long Sestine quoted from 
Barnabe Barnes, that the responses were rather in the nature of sage comments 
upon the lover's soliloquy than direct replies to queries. This tendency is still 
further illustrated in the last sonnet quoted, that from Thomas Watson, where 
Echo uses the spoken words but does not care for the thoughts of the discon- 
solate lover. When he is mooning on in the usual mood, Echo does not sympa- 
thize with him, but rather talks almost independently of her own sad adventures. 
She is independent in thought if not in word. This circumstance is worth 
remembering, for we shall find later that in some of the dramatic pieces Echo 
develops a voice that is entirely independent and talks on without respect to 
the classical tradition. 

As to the subject matter of these poems, it is quite evident that the theme 
is almost always that of a disappointed lover who may sorrow over a failure 
in wooing or become cynical about women, renouncing all further interest in 
them, or find in Echo consolation, or the incentive to return to the conquest 
again more bold than ever before. The motif is love; the scene is laid among 
woods and hills and fields; and the action is suggested by the semi-dramatic 



\ 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 33 

dialogue which reveals the situation, and either changes or confirms the opinions 
and attitude of the interlocutor. That is the echo-poem.^^ 

** This statement that the subject matter is of unrequited love, though very broad, demands only 
slight qualification. The '^Dialogue between Glutton and Echo" is one exception to the rule. Gascoigne's 
fantastic flattery of Elizabeth is another. But Gascoigne's was not mere personal praise; it was — as we 
all suspect — motivated by political relations. Tire same thing may be said of the following royalist poem 
of 1645, by an unknown author (here taken from "Notes and Queries," series 1, v. II, p. 441): 

What wantst thou, that thou art in this sad taking? 

Echo: A king. 
What made him Arst move hence his residing? 

Siding. 
Did any her deny him satisfaction? 

Faction. 
Tell me wherein the strength of faction lies? 

On lies. 
What didst thou when the king left his Parliament? 

Lament. 
What terms wouldst give to gain his company? 

Any. 
What wouldst thou do if here thou mightst behold him? 

Hold him. 
But wouldst thou save him with thy best endeavour? 

Ever. 
But if he comes not, what becomes of London? 

Undone. 

Another example of somewhat more pointed politics I shall extract from D'Israeli's "Curiosities of 
I-iterature" : 

"At the end of a comedy presented at the entertainment of the prince, by the s.^holars of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, in March, 1641, printed for James Calvin, 1642, the author, Francis Cole, holds in a 
print a paper in one hand and a round hat in another." 

Now, Echo, on what's religion grounded? 

Round-kead ! 
Whose its professors most considerable? 

Rabble! 
How do these prove themselves to be the godly? ^ 

Oddly! 
But they in life are known to be the holy, 

O lie! 
Who are these preachers, men or women — common ? 

Common! 
Come they from any universitie? 

Citie! 
Do they not learning from their doctrine sevei : 

Ei'er! 
Yet they pretend that they do edifie: 

Ofie! 
What do you call it then to fructify? 

What church have they, and what pulpits? 

Pitts! 
But now in chambers the Conventicle; 

Tickle! 
The godly sisters shrewdly are belied. 

Bellied! 
The godly number then will soon transcend. 

End! 
As for the temples, they with zeal embrace them. 

Rase tkem! 
What do they make of bishop's hierarchy? 

Arckie! 
Are cresses, images, ornaments their scandal!? 

All! 
Nor will they leave us many ceremonies. 

Monies! 
But even religion down for satisfaction? 

Faction ! 
How stand they affected to the government civil? 

Evil! 
But to the king they say they are most loyal. 

Lye all. 
Then God keep King and State from these same men. 

Amen! 



\V 



34 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 



VI 

1 

Pastorals 

It is not my intention merely to enumerate the many different technical 
variations of the echo-device. More value could be gained from some 
scrutiny of these pieces in the light of their use, the type of literature 
in which they appear, and the specific functions they are made to ful- 
fill We begin with stating what has already been diemonstrated, that 
this is a very artificial device.^® And, aside from the frank affectation of 
the sonnet sequence, probably the next most artificial type of literature was 
the pastoral. It was formality and technique raised to the nth degree. Those 
calm and scornful shepherdesses, those fantastic shepherds who addressed the 
very skies with plaints of unavailing love, those silly woolly lambs conven- 
tionalized as in a decorative frieze out of all resemblance to living animals, 
those neatly mowed lawns for grazing sheep and those woodland scenes — 
resembling Italian gardens — so unnatural a world was that of the pastoral. 
The characters were almost more unsatisfactory than Keats' figures on the 
Grecian urn. Their warmest affections seem more dispassionate than our chill 
regrets. Yet such was the setting in which the echo-device usually appeared I 
It is not strange, however, that ordinary echoes, not the device, should be found 
in poems dealing with outdoor life. And so we find them in pastorals, which 
combine the outdoor idea with the idea of formality. But this tendency can 
be seen in poems which are not entirely pastorals, but which have passages in 
that spirit. Almost the only reference to an echo in Shakespeare comes in 



(A footnote to the word Archie says: An allusion probably to Archibald Armstrong, tb« fool or 
privileged jester of Charles I, usually called Archy, who had 'a quarrel with Archbishop Laud, and of whom 
many arch things are on record. There is a little jest book, very high priced and of little worth, which bears 
the tiUe of ^'Archie's Jests." ^ D' Israeli's note, in "Curiosities of Literature," 2: 422-3.) 

And then a certain Mr. Allan Reid wrote to "Notes and Queries" (series 8, v. 10, p. 434) asking if 
anyone could supply him with the name of the author responsible for this poem, which he had found "abroad, 
in an old book." It is frankly partisan and has nothing to do with love: 

An diabolus est Jesuita? 

Ita! 
£t tamen Jesuitae sunt fervidi et zelosi. 

O si! 
Ad convertendos homines percurrent terras, 

Erras! 
Quid ergo quaerunt apud ^£thiopes? 

Opes! 
Et quid reservatus hominibus tarn dignis? 

Ignis!- 
Ut ardent sicut stamen. 

Amen. 

But these are, I believe, the only exceptions until we come to the actual drama. 

** Of this outlandish artificiality and dependence on mere technique, no better example could be given 
than Drayton's sonnet from his "Idea," punning incessantly on the words "No" and "I," and echoing: "I say 
•I die.' You echo no with 'L' " Sonnet No. 5 in ed. 1619; No. 8 in ed. 1599. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 3 5 

"A Lover's Complaint" (1609), which is distinctly in the pastoral mood; 
and one of the few passages in the "Faerie Queene" in even a semi-pastoral 
mood has "all the woods with double Eccho ring,"^^ We see also that when- 
ever the sonnets get away from the flutters and sighs of the court, they almost 
invariably mention echoes. Plain and hill echo forth the lovers' grief, sighs 
and groans are echoed through the air by the wind, sometimes prating Echo 
rings from the rocks, sometimes scornfully remains silent.*^ Indeed, it is no 
mere chance that Lord Stirling, from whose "Aurora" (1604) we have already 
cited "An Eccho," was very much disposed toward pastoral and did a supple- 
ment to Sidney's "Arcadia." Take for example Michael Drayton's "The Quest 
of Cinthia" (1627) with its careful pastoral setting: "what time the graves 
were clad in green, the fields dressed all in flowers," where the Echoes often 
wonder at Cinthia's name. 

"Long wand'ring in the woods (said I) 

Oh, whether's Cynthia gone? 
Whensoone the Eccho doth reply, 

To my last word, goe on." ^ 

Here in these four lines there is the pastoral theme and the pastoral manner 
and also an actual verbal echo. The setting is carefully given. One of the echo 
sonnets cited above from Thomas Watson's "Tears of Fancie" (No. 29) was 
likewise preceded by careful preparation in the sonnet just before, in which an 
attempt was made to create the setting where Narcissus sat and heard Echo 
speak, only this time a well of tears actually shed from watery eyes. The 
attempt to keep in touch with the pastoral idea, or rather the natural coincidence 
of the pastoral idea and the echo-device, is further illustrated by (Danzon 2 
in the ingenious Barnabe Barnes' "Parthenophil and Parthenope" (1593), part 
of which is given here: *^ 

Echo! record what feasts be kept today 

Amongst the Arcadian shepherd swains I 
What keep they, whiles they do the Muses cheer ? 

Echo, Cheer 1 
He cheered the Muses with celestial skill I 
All Shepherds' praise died with him, when he died ! 
He left no peer t Then, what deserved he, 

At whose pipe's sound the lambkin bays? 
Echo, Bays I 
The bullocks leap ! the fawns dance in array ! 

Kids skip! The Satyrs friskins fain! 
Here stand a herd of Swains, Fair Nymphs stand there ! 
Swains dance ! while Nymphs with flowers their baskets fill ! 
What was he to these Nymphs with garlands tied ? 

Echo, Tied. 



/ ' 



*^ Book I. More typical is Calidore among the shepherds. Book VI, Canto X. Other references to 
echoes in Spenser are in the "Prothalamium," II. 112-113; "The Tears of the Muses," IL 285-286; Vtrgifs 
"Gnat," I. 232; and in the "Epithalamium." 

•Constable's "Diana" (1584); Lodge's "Rosalynde" (1590); Lodge's "Phillis" (1593); Giles Fletcher's 
"Licta" (1593), and "Galatea Concerning Polyphemus" (1593); Richard Linche's "Delia" (1596); Griffin's 
"Fidessa" (1596); and Lodge's "Glaucus and Scilla." 

"Canzon 2. 



36 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

But this fact is made even more obvious by noticing that when Cowley wants 
to write "The Eccho" in "Constantia and Philetus" (1637) we find the lover 
conveniently going into the woods before he begins his moaning and leaving 
the woods directly he is done. 

When Mr. Thorndike was making a study of some early dramatic 
pastorals in English, he mentioned the use of echo dialogues in Gascoigne's 
'Trmcely Pleasures at Kenilworth Castle" (1575), and in the "Maid's Meta- 
morphosis" (1600), as characteristics of the pastoral.^* He probably did 
not mention George Peek's "Old Wives' Tale" (1590), because he deemed 
it too serious and mysterious a piece for pastoral. Yet its setting is pastoral, 
and it contains an example of the echo-dialogue on the stage: 

Enter the two Brothers, 
Sacrapant. Dclya, away, for beset are we ; 

But heaven nor hell shall rescue her from me." 

1. Brother, Brother, was not that Delya did appeare ? 

Or was it but her shadow that was here ? 

2. Brother. Sister, where art tho? Delya, come again ; 

He calles, that of thy absence doth complaine. 
Call out, Calypha, that she may/heare. 
And crie aloud, for Delya is neere. \ ^ 

Eccho, Neere. 

1. Brother. Neere ? O where, hast thou any tidings ? 
Eccho. Tidings. 

2. Brother. Which way is Delia then, — or that, or this ? 
Eccho. This. 

1. Brother. And may we safely come where Delsra is ? 
Eccho. Yes. 

2. Brother. Brother, remember you the white 

Beare of Englands wood : 
Start not aside for every danger ; 
Be not afraid of every stranger; 
Things that seeme, are not the same. 

1. Brother. Brother, why do we not then couragiously enter? 

2. Brother. Then, brother, draw thy sword & follow me." 

It is the perfect naturalness of all the surroundings that makes these 
pastorals the usual places in which we should expect to find echoes. For 



** "Modern Language Notes" (1899), v. XTV, p. 228. He found no echo-dialogues in five other pieces, 
though be seems to have thought them characteristic. Reference is kindly supplied by Miss Jeannette Marks, 
to another pastoral, "Narcissus, or Twelve Night merriment playede by youths of the parish at the College of 
S John the Baptist in Oxford, A. A. 1602, with appendix, now first edited by M. L. Lee, 4*, London, 1893*' 
(The Tudor Library), which is not to be confused with the poem "Narcissus" (1646), by James Shirley. 
**This reading is Bullen's, altered from the original: But heaven or hell shall rescue her jrom me. 
**11. 365-386. It is worth noting that this incident got into Milton's "Comus" (1634-37) only as a song 
addressed to Echo, II. 230 ff.: 

Sweet EchOt sweetest Nymph that Uv*st unseen 
fVithin thy airy shell 
By slow Meander's margent green. 
And in the violet imbroider'd vale 

Where the love-lorn Nightingale 
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well. 
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Pair 
That likest thy Narcissus aref 

O if thou have 
Hid them in som flowery Cave, 
Tell me but where 
Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear, 
So maist thou be translated to the skies. 
And give resounding grace to all Heav'ns Harmonies, 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 37 

instance, in the opening passages of Jonson's "Masque of Oberon" a satyr is 
calling for his fellows by blowing on a cornet and, when Echo answers, thinks 
it is they. But when they fail to approach at his request, he suspects he was 
deceived and blows a second time to make sure. After telling Echo not to 
meddle further, he blows his cornet a third time and then is truly answered 
by those he seeks. And this scene with one echo believed to be a genuine 
response, one recognized as an echo, and one which is a human response and 
not an echo, — this scene illustrating these three types could not have been 
placed anywhere else than where such an error might naturally have happened. 
The out of doors is the natural home of Echo, and her hollow voice is often 
used to taunt. For further example, it is as a mocking interlocutor that Echo 
appears in the "Maid's Metamorphosis" (1600):^^ 

Enter Ascanio, and locule, 

Asca. Shall then my travell ever endless prove ? 
That I can heare no tydings of my Love? 
In neither desert, grove nor shadie wood, 
Nor obscure thicket, where my f oote hath trod ? 
But every plough-man, and rude shepheard swain, 
Doth still reply unto my greater paine ? -^ 

Some Satyre then, or Goddesse of this place, 
Some water Nymph, vouchsafe we so much grace 
As by some view, some signe, or other sho, 
I may have knowledge if she live or no. 

Eccho. No. 

Asca. Then my poore hart is buried too in wo : 

Record it once more, if the truth be so? 

Eccho, So. 

Asca. How, that Eurymine is dead, or lives ? 

Eccho. Lives... 

These three echo-dialogues are taken out of two plays and a masque of 
a pastoral character, and yet they had none of the traits of the pastoral use 
of the echo. In "Pastor Fido" (which was translated in 1602) and in other 
pastorals the use of echoes is in connection with sentimental love scenes, quite 
different from the taunting scenes of these English pieces. In fact, we 
often wonder just what to do with Greg's statement that the echo owed its 
popularity — though not its introduction into the pastoral — to Guarini. 
There seem to have been echoes mentioned in English pastorals before Guarini 
wrote, and not until the partial pastoral revival in England about 1630^® were 
there very many more again. For instance, in what is almost purely a pastoral, 
Peele's "Arraignment of Paris" (1584), we have a pseudo-echo as follows:^' 

A foul crooked Churl enters, and Thestylis, a fair Lass, wooeth him, and singeth an old song 
called The Wooing of Colman: he crabbedly refuseth her, and goeth out of the place: 
she tarrieth behind. 

Paris. Ah, poor unhappy Thestylis, unpitied is thy pain ! 

Venus. Her fortune not unlike to hers " whom cruel thou hast slain. 

Thestylis singeth, and the Shepherds reply. 



" Act IV, Scene 1. 

••Act III, Scene 2. 

•• See Forsythc: "Shirley's Plays," p. 6. 

" This is Dyce's emendation. 



38 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

The Song. 

Thest. The strange aflFects " of my tormented heart, 

Whom cruel love hath woeful prisoner caught, 

Whom cruel hate hath into bondage brought, 

Whom wit no way of safe escape hath taught, 

Enforce me say, in witness of my smart, 

There is no pain in foul disdain in hardy suits of love. 
Shepherds. There is no pain, &c. 
Thest. Cruel, farewell. 

Shepherds. Cruel, farewell. 

Thest. Most cruel thou of all that nature fram*d, 

Shepherds. Most cruel, &c. 
Thest. To kill thy love with thy disdain. 

Shepherds. To kill thy love with thy disdain. 
Thest. Cruel Disdain, so live thou nam'd, 

Shepherds. Cruel Disdain, &c. 
Thest. And let me die of Iphis' pain, 

Shepherds. A death" too good for thy disdain. 
Thest. Sith this my stars to me allot. 

And thou thy love hast all forgot. 
Shepherds. And thou, &c. 

(Exit Thcstylis.) 

At the end it says in the old book, "The grace of this song is in the Shep- 
herd's echo to her verse." This, of course, opens the whole musical question. 

Is a refrain an echo? When an invisible choir of shepherds echoed the 
last word or words, did it constitute an echo ? As an instance of what this prob- 
lem may mean, there is the "song redoubled" of the harvest men in "The Old 
Wives Tale" (1590-1595): 

"Soe heere we come a reaping, a reaping, 
To reape our harvest f ruite. 
And thus we pass the yeare so long. 
And never be we mute." 

And there is Breton's "Report Song in a Dream between a Shepherd and a 
Nymph" ^^ of which one stanza is enough: 



"Shall we go dance the hay ? The hay ? 
Never pipe could ever play 

Better shepherd's roundelay." 

In Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" (1604), we have the same sort of 
thing in a charming song with more about it of beauty than of echo: 

"Take, O ! take those lips away, 

That so sweetly were forsworn ; 
And those eyes, the break of day. 

Lights that do mislead the morn : 
But my kisses bring again. 

Bring again, 
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain, 

Seal'd in vain."" 



" This is Dyce's emendation. 
^* This is P. A. Daniel's emendation. 
«From "England's Helicon" (1600). 

** See also a variation of this in a poem by Rhys Goch, quoted by Charles Wilkins: "Hist, of Lit. of 
Wales, 1300-1650," Cardiff, 1884, p. 28-29. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 39 

Of course, if we wished to press the subject, we could include in our category 
every repetition in every song that has ever been written. But though by such 
a process we should accumulate a dictionary full of echoes, we should likewise 
lose sight of our definitions. In some of these there seems to be an actual inten- 
tion of giving the effect of an echo, many seem rather on the border line, and 
in others the sense of refrain seems to predominate. The true test is the dra- 
matic one: the test of different characters. Tetrazzini might sing her Swiss 
Yodel song all evening and it would not be an echo — only repetition: but the 
same words can be repeated so as to give the impression that they come as an 
echo from off the stage, given probably by another person concealed in the 
wings, and then it would be an echo-song. 

This musical question is also involved in the problem of echo-devices in 
the masques, which likewise were somewhat pastoral in tone. The whole effect 
is dramatic enough, and it seems not improbable to imagine a singer stationed 
at one side of the stage (perhaps concealed behind some of the gallants or 
behind a curtain) and singing the echoes. This would then give the impression * 
of a musical response and yet the dramatic circumstances of the masque 
would tend to make it a veritable verbal echo. The following "Hymn by the 
Masquers," is taken from Ben Jonson's "Pan's Anniversary; or the Shepherd*s 
Holy day, as it was presented at Court before King James, 1625'*:^^ 

If yet, if yet, 
Pan's orgies you will further fit, 
See where the silver footed fays do sit. 

The nymph's of wood and water ; 

Each tree's and fountain's daughter I 
Go take them forth, if will be good 
To see some wave it like a wood, 
And others wind it like a flood ; 
It springs. 
And rings, 
Till the applause it brings, ^ 

Wakes Echo from her seat. 

The closes to repeat. 
(Echo. The closes to repeat.) 
Echo, the truest oracle on ground, 

Though nothing but a sound. 
(Echo. Though nothing but a sound.) 
Beloved of Pan, the valley's queen. 
, (Echo. The valley's queen.) 

And often heard, though never seen. 
(Echo. Though never seen.) 



'•The ''Maske at the Marriage of the Rarle of Somerset, and Lady Frances Howard" (1614), hj 
Thomas Campion, is the only one among the works of that singing poet which contains anything which might 
be taken as an echo and even this seems mere musical repetition : 

"While dancing rests, fit place to music granting. 
Good spells the Fates shall breathe, all envy daunting. 
Kind ears with joy enchanting, chanting. 

Chorus. lo, lo Hymen! 
Like looks, like hearts, like loves are linked together: 
So must the Fates be pleased, so come they hether. 
To make this joy persever, ever? 

Chorus. lo, lo Hymen! 
Love decks the spring, her buds to th' air exposing 
Such fire here in these bridal breasts reposing, 
We leave with charms enclosing, closing." 



40 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

A further example of this type of echo in a song which is also an actual 
echo is to be found in the second scene of William Browne's piece on Ulysses, 
"The Inner Temple Masque" (1614)/^ But the chief interest which attaches 
to this scene is in the stage direction, indicating a regular method of represent- 
ing this device in theatrical performances/^ 

Presently in the wood was heard a full music of lutes, which descending to the stage had to 
them sung this following song, the Echoes being placed in several parts of the boscage : 

SONG 

CIRCE bids you come away. 

Echo: Come away, come away. 
. From the rivers, from the sea. 

Echo: From the sea, from the sea. 
From the green woods, every one. 

Echo: Every one, every one. 
Of her maids be missing none. 

Echo: Missing none, missing none. 
No longer stay, except it be to bring 

A med'cine for love's sting. 
That would excuse you and be held more dear 
Than wit or magic, for both they are here. 

Echo: They are here, they are here. 

* 

My next echo-scene, from Ben Jonson's "Masque of Blackness," presented 
at Whitehall in Twelfth Night, 1605-1606, has the same indication as to how 
the echoes are to be represented on the stage "from several parts of the land." 
It is also noteworthy that the echoes are growing longer and more complicated. 
Eight syllables is a rather long phrase to be repeated without confusion, and 
the very length of the phrase indicates a greater tendency towards formality 
and towards conventionalization. 

Come away, come away. 

We grow jealous of your stay : 

If you do not stop your ear, ^ *i 

We shall have more cause to fear 

Syrens of the land, than they 

To doubt the Syrens of the sea. 






\ 



Here they danced with their men several measures and corantos, AH which ended r they were 
again accited to sea, with a song of two trebles, whose cadences were iterated by a double 
echo from several parts of the land. 

Daughters of the subtle flood. 

Do not let earth longer entertain you ; 

l.Echo. Let earth longer entertain you. \ 

2. Echo. Longer entertain you. 
'Tis to them enough of good. 
That you give this little hope to gain you. 

1. Echo. Give this little hope to gain you. 

2. Echo. Little hope to gain you. 



'• Browne was author of "Britannia's Pastorals," "The Shepherd's Pipe," and other pastoral poems, and 
yet in his fifth eclogue he bids his friend *'to write things of a higher fame than silly shepherds use indite." 
^ Reminding us of the Echo concealed in the bushes in Gascoigne's "Princely Pleasures" (1575). 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 41 

If they love. 

You shall quickly see ; 
For when to flight you move, 
They'll follow you, the more you flee. 

LEcho, Follow you, the more you flee. 

2. Echo. The more you flee. 
If not, impute it to each other's matter; 
They are but earth, and what you vowed was water. 

J. Echo, And what you vowed was water. 

2. Echo. You vowed was water. 

There may be some doubt in our minds about the proportion of true 
dramatic flavor which is in these songs and whether or not it is sufficient to 
warrant repeated words being classed as actual echoes instead of as mere musi- 
cal repetitions. But whatever the doubt in the three previous cases, there can 
be none when the echoes are presented as actual embodied persons on the stage. 
And in such a manner are they presented in the following passage, extracted 
from Ben Jonson's "The Queen's Second Masque, which was of Beauty," pre- 
sented at Whitehall, Twelfth Night, 1608-9, which has the same double echoes, 
somewhat more simple; but it is important for the stage direction: the "two 
Echoes rising out of the fountains." Thus it reads: 

Here the loud music ceased; and the musicians, which were placed in the arbors, came forth 
through the mazes to the other land: singing this full song, iterated in the closes by two 
Echoes, rising out of the fountains. 

When Love at first did move 
From out of Chaos brightned 
,So was the world, and lightned, 
As now. 

l.Echo. As now! 

2. Echo. As now I 
Yield Night, then to the light. 
As Blackness has to Beauty: 
Which is but the same duty. 
It was for Beauty that the world was made. 
And where she reigns, Love's lights admit no shade. 

l.Echo. Love's lights admit no shade. 

2. Echo. Admit no shade. 

Then as if it were not sufficient to make the invisible nymph visible knd 
to have her arise out of a fountain, — and it will be remembered that a fountain 
is a usual accompaniment of Narcissus and the lost echo, — Ben Jonson has 
gone even further in "Cynthia's Revels" (1600).^* There he gives a dialogue 
between Mercury and Echo, wherein Echo has an independent voice ^^ and 
talks on without the necessity of repetition, but has to catch her cue, or her 
opening word from each last phrase of Mercury, somewhat after the manner 
of the "link verse," It is worth noting that Echo comes up from below, ascend- 
ing through a fountain; and that, though Echo can speak at length when a 
tangible creature, she must speak only in repeated phrases when she is invisible 



»• Act I, Scene 1. 

^ In Lope de Vega's "La Fianza Satisfecha,*' the first responses are echoes, but an independent voice 
is later developed. 



42 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

and therefore only an airy spirit. It is a pleasant conceit wherein the Goddess 
of Olympus is evidently conceived as restoring for a time the physical body and 
the full powers of speech together, just as she had taken them away together. 
The passage is therefore one of the most interesting of all. 

Now there should be no doubt as to the use of the echo-device. We have 
studied it in verse as a metrical conceit. We have found it usually in a pastoral 
setting with music, and often in those pastorals which stand half way between 
ordinary verse and the drama. We have even found its dramatic possibilities 
realized to such an extent as to transform its functions into independent speech 
of a rational kind. Having carried this semi-dramatic trick of poetizing and 
of song writing up almost to the door of the theatre, so to speak, we shall in our 
next section discuss stage possibilities of the device and its dramaturgic uses. 



VII 
Drama 

The* most natural place in the world for echoes is in the open country and 
the most natural literature for echoes is pastoral literature. But it is also quite 
evident that, in the idea of a question and a reply, there is something of the 
dramatic. Hence we find that, just as its peculiarities recommended the echo- 
device to fantastic forms of verse, its technical characteristics brought it into 
the regular drama whose very foundation is in dialogues and in responses. 
There is little difficulty, therefore, in understanding how the dramatists came 
to use this device out of the poetic books of the period. The manner of their 
use is the interesting thing, the technical value of employing such a device to 
further action, to display character, or to gain effectiveness. We have in the 
last section discussed the echo-device as utilized in semi-dramatic pastoral back- 
grounds. In this section the circumstances rather than the scenery, the dra- 
tnatic rather than the pictorial situations, — these shall be our concern. 

It was of course inevitable that these devices should, in their transference 
from poetry to drama, bring with them some of their former characteristics. 
For instance, many scenes have stage directions **in the woods," or "such-and- 
such a forest," showing that the settings are the ones to which we are already 
accustomed. And then similar migrations can be cited of other traits. The 
cynical attitude toward women is continued in as strong a vein as the affectedly 
despondent sonneteers ever dared to attempt. The indictment is particularly 
strong in Robert Tailor's "Hog hath lost his Pearl" (1613).8o 

It has been seen that some of the echo-poems were political in character, 
and the same sort of thing is likewise found in the drama. A scene from '^The 
Return from Parnassus" (1606),^^ contains a dialogue whose object is satire. 

It will be noticed, however, that these echo scenes in "Hog hath lost his 
Pearl" and in "The Return from Parnassus" are merely separate scenes put into 



** "Actus Quartu8...in the woods." 

** Actus II, Scaena 2, "publiquely acted by the students in Saint Johns Colledge in Cambridge." 



THE. ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 43 

the plays; the essential characteristic of the echo-dialogue has little influence 
or effect upon the play as a whole. The transference from lyric poetry to 
drama was merely a complete borrowing of technique without change. The 
device has not become less lyric by becoming more dramatic. And as a tech- 
nical device it was also borrowed freely enough, on three occasions at least, 
to cause it to lose its distinctive idea of echoes: In "A Humorous Days Mirth" 
( 1599) by George Chapman, one character is made to repeat the phrases of 
another for purely humorous effect: in outward form the scene is an echo- 
scene, actually it is not.*^ In that curious play by Thomas Dekker called 
*'If this be not a good play, the Devil is in it" ( 1612) it is only by echoing the 
last two or three words of his master Scumbroth's speeches that Glitterbacke, 
a diabolical head of gold, can speak at all: so that though there is no echo 
indicated, the phrasing is such that Scumbroth might have been deceived by 
Echo into thinking that this head of gold spoke.®^ And, lastly, in Thomas 
Middleton's play, ''Anything for a Quiet Life" (1617), a mercer's apprentice 
hides behind an area and simulates an echo from the cellar: but this scene, 
though only a feigned echo, has dramatic purpose, for it teaches the mercer's 
wife who has a long and a full tongue not to talk too much or too loud.*^ 



We have thus seen how the device was used in a purely technical way, 
and it shall be our next concern to learn how the echo was used for its dramatic 
possibilities as an integral part of the plot or the characterization and not as 
a mere insertion out of other books. In fact it is used for the development 
of a character in a fashioli more decided and more thorough than the mere 
soliloquy could do, in the very first scene of the first act of Dekker's **01d 
Fortunatus" (1599). There is a slight touch of the ridiculous in this wood 
in Cyprus where Fortunatm enters meanly attired, and walks about cracking 
nuts before he speaks; and yet it is quite obvious that the echo here is no mere 
whimsy of a device transferred out of one form of literature into another. 
It has found a definite place in the preliminaries of an expository first act. 

Practically the same characterization can be given to some further echo- 
scenes, scenes which at first seem to be merely a humorous application of the 
idea but which on closer scrutiny in relation to the other parts of the play are 
seen to account for the passing of time and to fill out the usefulness and futility 
of Jenkins. Gifford suggested that these scenes, which come from James Shir- 
ley's "Love Tricks" (1624),85 were burlesques of "Hog hath lost his Pearl" 
but deemed the matter "scarcely worth the labour of investigation." Probably 
Gifford did not care to search far and preferred the error in labeling certain 
definite things as sources to the truth to be found by looking. Yet we know 
that in this, as in other things, the "sources" of James Shirley are to be reckoned 

** An exact parallel to this appears in "Law-tricks" (1606) by John Day, Act V, Scene 1, p. 71-72, and 74. 

"* Miss M. L. Hunt ("Thomas Dekker, a Study," p. 154), says that this came from the earlier stage to 
which I am forced to reply that her degree of comparison must be very small indeed for there was not much 
stage, and certainly no echo-devices on the stage at a date very much earlier than 1612. She even called the 
echo-device an "archaic element*' in 1600 (p. 33). 

••Another counterfeit echo appears in "The Turk" (1607), Act V, Scene 1. 

» Act IV, Scenes 3 and 4. 



44 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

as the whole of acted and printed literature and not any few books; no man 
inherited more from literary predecessors, and the echo-device went along 
with the rest. 

Another interesting and real, though not a verbal, echo is to be found in 
the opening of Jonson's "Masque of Oberon, the Fairy Prince" (Act I): 

1. Satyk. Chromis! Mnasil! None appear? 
See you not who riseth here ? 
You saw Silenus late, I fear. — 
I'll prove if this can reach your ear. 

He ivound his comet, and thought himself anszvered; 
but was deceived by the echo, 

O, you wake then I come away, 

Times be short are made for play ; 

The humorous moon, too, will not stay: — \h 

What doth make you thus delay? 
Hath his tankard touched your brain? 

Sure, they're fallen asleep again : 

Or, I doubt it was the vain 

Echo did me entertain. 
Prove again — 
Wound his comet the second time, and found it. 
I thought 'twas she! 

Idle nymph, I pray thee be 

Modest, and not follow me : 

I do not love myself, nor thee. 
Here he wound the third time, and was answered 
by another Satyr. 

This same idea which we have had of one person searching for another 
and being deceived, which we also had in the satyr with the cornet in Jonson's 
"Masque of Oberon/' — this same idea is again illustrated with a trifle more 
intricacy in a scene from Richard Browne's "Queen's Exchange" (1631—32).*^ 
The predicament of Anthymus who seeks his feeble father and is led back 
and forth by Echo is somewhat pathetic until he discovers the delusion and 
curses Echo and her babbling mockery. 

However, if there is pathos in that scene, we can find by looking else- 
where that there is terror in Echo as well. Few dramas of that age deserve 
the grewsome title, "tragedy of blood," so completely as does the "Duchess 
of Malfi" (1614), by John Webster, which by its very elevation gains in horror 
and becomes more and more terrible as it becomes more and more sublime. 
Without a doubt this is the most dignified and most serious use of the echo- 
device in all of English literature. Others may have employed it for courtly 
praise, or for quaint metaphysical conceit, for conventional compliment or 
classical turn of phrase, for literary affectation or for broad humor, for satire 
of women or for the attack of a political creed. But none have made the inter- 
locutors so clearly conscious of the fact that they were talking to an Echo, 
as these who hear her voice come from a ruined cloister wall; and none have 
read more significant meaning into the tricky responses than did Antonio 
standing amid the graves of the men of old and seeming to hear the voice 

•• Act 2, Scene 3. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 45 

of his murdered wife warning him to be mindful of his safety. Though Delio 
remains skeptical of the whole proceeding and though Antonio probably does 
not dream of a ghost and attributes all the incident to the marvelous, hollow, 
and dismal echo previously described to him, yet on Antonio there is an un- 
doubtedly strong emotional effect. He even seemed to see a sudden clear light 
present before his eyes, "a face framed in sorrow," the face of his murdered 
wife. The thing is done with the usual power and strength of John Webster; 
and that should be sufficient comment.®^ 

When Webster can utilize it so well as that, scarce is there need for 
excusing the echo-device as an unnatural thing in literature. It is true that 
Shakespeare never used it; it is true that Marlowe never used it; it is true that 
Jonson used it only in semi-musical sense in those masques which his other, 
really fine plays have saved from oblivion. These three men were the greatest 
of their age. And yet John Webster used naturally and effectively an artificial 
trifle which they scorned to adopt. No blame to them, of course. But par- 
ticularly no blame to him. The device has become in his hands more than a 
mere device, it is a reasonable and rational element in the drama.®* 

So if once we have got to the point where we are willing to admit that 
the echo-dialogue may exist in a play without undue strain upon a natural' 
imagination, we can immediately find it used with sense and discretion. It 
is true, of course, that every possible ingenious application of an ingenious 
device was found and made by those ingenious dramatists. But it is also true 
that there are really only tw^o general uses to which the echo-scene could be 
applied — one to bring out character and to reflect the mood and tone of the 
play, and another to take a hand in determining the course of events. In Peele's 
"Old Wives Tale" (1590), already quoted, the echo assists in complicating 
the plot and makes the brothers resolve to go on and continue their search... 
And almost the same thing can be said of the role played by Echo in Dray- 
ton's semi-dramatic piece 'The Quest of Cinthia" (1627): 

"Long wand'ring in the Woods (said I) 

Oh whcther's Cynthia gone? 
Whensoone the Eccho doth reply, | \ 

To my last word, goe on," 

And so he goes on with the quest. The effect of Echo upon the conduct of 
a character is seen again at the end of the first part of Thomas Heywood's 
"Iron Age" (1632). There is only a single echo of a single word in the solilo- 
quy of Ajax who is, if not alone, at least deserted, on the stage. 

Aiax, . . . Looke, looke. 

By yonder wood, how sliely in the skirts 

March policy and the divell, on, I f eare you not : 

Dare you not yet ? not one to fight with me : 

Who then? What's he must cope with AiaxT 
Echo. Aiax? 
A tax. Well sayd old boy. 



•» Act V, Scene 3. 

**In Thomas Heywood's "Love's Mistress" (Act I, Scene 2), there is a rather fantastic application of 
the device, of a semi-diabolical nature, which is, however, puny and trivial as compared with Webster's 
masterly handling. 



46 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

And then the stage direction reads, "He kills himselfe." So that the echo 
is quite clearly the immediate cause of an important action and again is 
demonstrated as taking part in the plot, this time in the resolution. It will 
also be noticed that Ajax was despondent and deserted, w^hich has ever been 
the usual condition of such men as listen to echoes. In Thomas Lodge's play 
"The Wounds of Civil War" (1594), we have perhaps the most complete 
absorption of the echo into the plot, just, as in "The Duchess of Malfi" (1613) 
we have the most complete adaptation of the echo to the mood of the play. 
Here in the fourth scene of Act III, Marius is a lonely exile uttering Jiis com- 
plaint to Echo in the desert and so corresponds to the usual ideas about these 
people. 

Six hundred suns with solitary walks 
I still have sought for to delude my pain, 
And friendly echo, answering to my talks, 
Rebounds the accent of my ruth again : 
She, courteous nymph, the woful Roman pleaseth. 
Else no consorts but beasts my pain appeaseth. 
Each day she answers in yon neighbouring mountain, 
I do expect, reporting of my sorrow. 
Whilst lifting up her locks from out the fountain, 
She answereth to my questions even and morrow : 
To please my thoughts I mean for to approve. 
Sweet nymph, draw near, thou kind and gentle echo. Echo. 
What help to ease my weary pains have I ? /. 
What comfort in distress to calm my griefs? Griefs, 
Sweet nymph, these griefs are grown, before I thought so. / thought so. 
Thus Marius lives disdained of all the gods. Gods. 
With deep despair late overtaken wholly. O lie. 
And will the heaven be never well appeased? Appeased. 
What mean have they to cure my smart? Art. 
\ Naught better fits old Marius' mind than war. Then war. 

Then full of hope, say, Echo, shall I go ? Go. 
Is any better fortune then at hand? At hand. 
Then farewell. Echo, gentle nymph, farewell. Fareivell. 
O pleasing folly to a pensive man ! 
Well. I will rest fast by this shady tree, 
Waiting the end that fate allotteth me. (Sits down.) 

Almost immediately the arrival of Young Marius, who turns out to be 
the agent of "better fortune" which is "at hand," — the arrival makes him 
turn back from his exile in obedience to the behest, "Then war," back to the 
conquest of powder at Rome. This echo-dialogue is, therefore, if not actually 
a determining, at least an indicative, factor in the development of the plot. 

We have thus shown the actual and important dramatic use of a device 
which was in itself semi-dramatic, whether it appeared in song, pastoral or 
sonnet. And we have found it in its most natural form as an incentive to 
continue a quest, as an emphatic accent to terror tragedies, and as indications 
and determinants of action. These dramatic uses resulted from a particular 
stage application of a purely literary trick invented by men Almost acrobatic 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 47 

in their skill at versification, but the dramatic uses became the most normal 
and natural. In the whole field of Elizabethan literature, to which we have 
tried to confine ourselves in this discussion of poems, pastorals, and plays, 
there was not — I think I may venture to state — any other purely literary 
device which so well illustrates the close affinities between all forms of writing 
in these times. And, in tracing a single and easily distinguishable form, w^e can 
see the imprint of one literature on another, and technical imitation of one 
nation or group or circle by another. It is because the echo-device gets into 
almost every one from Gascoig^e to Cowley, into all sorts of plays from "Love 
Tricks" to "The Duchess of Malfi," into sonnets of a serious and songs of a 
jaunty mood, into biting satire and uproarious laughter, into nearly every 
form and shape of literature, — it is because of this that the echo-device has 
been interesting to watch through all its changes. The study has been fruit- 
ful, though the fruit may have no value. 



VII 

When we leave the stormy Seventeenth Century and pass through the 
Restoration and into the Eighteenth Century, we begin to find a sturdy 
insistence on form and regularity in form. It would not be long before lyric, 
elegy, pastoral, drama, satire, and song move alike in the stately measures 
of the classical rule. This was no field for echo-devices and such fantastic 
verse forms. They naturally did not belong.®' DTsraeli, in his "Curiosities 
of Literature'* goes so far as to claim for Samuel Butler the credit of driving 
the echo out of favor by ridiculing this use of verbal repetitions in a humorous 
dialogue in "Hudibras" (1663) between Orsin and Echo.'^ 

Though the claim of DTsraeli may be a little preposterous, we must 
not forget that Corneille was making serious fun of the echo in France in 
1653. The coming eighteenth century was a reasonable and a regular age; 
the curious was viewed askance; conformity to standard was required. And 
if further proof were needed that echoes were then out of favor, "The Spec- 
tator" himself,'^ Mr. Joseph Addison, pretends to discover "in ancient times 
the conceit of making an echo talk sensibly, and give rational answers,'' and 
speaks of this conceit under the heading of "False Wit." Addison is rather 
inclined to excuse the use in "Ovid," "where he introduces the echo as a nymph, 
because she was worn away into nothing but a voice." It may be thought, 
however, that this defence of Ovid is only a left-handed affair after all, for 



•The sensible Dr. Johnson even objected to the pastoral idea, saying in his "Lives of the Poets" of 
Shenstone's "Pastoral Ballads": "I cannot but regret that it is a pastoral; an intelligent reader, acquainted 
with the scenes of real life, sickens at the mention of the crook, the pipe, the sheep, and the kids, which it is 
not necessary to bring forward to notice, for the poet's art is selection, and he ought to shew the beauties 
without the grossness of the country life." 

** Part I, Canto III. 

** SpecUtor, No. 59. 



48 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

we find that Addison himself translated this tale out of the Latin '^ and did 
not eschew the echoing of the words: 

She saw him in his present misery. 
Whom, spite of all her wrongs, she griev'd to see. 
She answered sadly to the lover's moan, 
Sigh'd back his sighs, and groan'd to every groan : 
'* Ah youth t belov'd in vain," Narcissus cries : 
"Ah youth I belov'd in vain," the nymph replies. 
"Farewell," says he ; the parting sound scarce fell 
From his faint lips, but she reply'd, "Farewell." 



And next Addison singles out for ridicule the distinguished author of "Col- 
loquia Familiaria," saying, "The learned Erasmus, though a man of wit and 
genius, has composed a dialogue upon this silly kind of device, and made 
use of an Echo, who seems to have been a very extraordinary linguist, for 
she answers the person she talks with in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, according 
as she found the syllables which she was to repeat in any of these learned lan- 
guages."'^ But all of the condemnatory adjectives of Joseph Addison con- 
cerning other poetic technicalities and these echoes'^ — however consonant 
with the critic tendency of the time — must nevertheless be somewhat quali- 
fied when we find Addison himself writing the following song: 

Echo, tell me, while I wander 
O'er this fairy plain to prove him, 
If my shepherd still grows fonder. 
Ought I in return to love him ? 

Echo: Love him, love him I ' 

If he loves, as is the fashion. 
Should I churlishly forsake him? 
Or in pity to his passion. 
Fondly to my bosom take him ? 
Echo: Take him, take himl 

Thy advice then, Til adhere to, 
Since in Cupid's chains I've led him ; 
And with Henry shall not fear to 
Marry, if you answer, "Wed him 1" 
Echo: Wed him, wed him 1 •• 

There was also another poem written by a contemporary of Addison 
which goes to show that, though the general fact of the disappearance in the 
Eighteenth Century may be accepted as true, there are still liable to be excep- 
tions, even among the very men who would naturally be deemed least likely 
to oflFend in this respect. This poem, furthermore, continues in a singularly 
biting way the usual cynical attitude toward women who cause despondency 



•> "Chalmers* English Poets," v. 20, p. 452. 
•• From "Juvenis et Echo," 

Juvtnu, Cypio pancis te consulere, si vacat. 

Echo. Vacat. 

Juvenis. Et si venio tibi gratns jnvenis. 

Echo. Yen is. 

Juvenis, Sed potesne nihi et de faturis dicere vcrnm. Echo? 

Echo. EXCA* **^* 

** Which he mostly copied out of an old hook, Camden's "Remaines Concerning BriUin** (1637). 

** It will be noticed that this is very close to the type of mere mosical repetition in vocal rendering. 
In fact this very song was put to music some time later by T. E. Hook. (Phillip Colaoa in "Notea and 
Queries." 19 June 1858. 5 cries 2. v. V, p. 507.) 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE . 49 

among lovers, an attitude peculiar of course to many of the very early echo- 
poems.^^ 

Except for these two poems just cited, it may be rather broadly stated 
that the use of the echo-device was discontinued in England after the Restora- 
tion. In fact the further occurrences of the species from 1660 to the present 
time are so few that they can be grouped and briefly discussed as a whole. 

As mere evidence that this use of the echo is not dead, without any 
attempt to indicate a vigorous life, we may at least say that the single echo 
fitted into the stanza form is found in Byron's "Oscar of Alva" (In "Hours 
of Idleness," 1807),^^ Shelley's "Epipsychidion" (1821),'8 in Tennyson's 
"Launcelot and Elaine" (1859),'' and in the French (simply to show that 
it had not died there either) in Lamartine's "Jocelyn" (1837).^^^ And yet 
it seems even from the beginning that these are not really echoes at all in our 
sense of the word. They are verbal repetitions and have the dramatic effect; 
but they spring out of thought rather than out of technical manipulation. 
They are real echoes, not poetic ones.^^^ They are in the poems because the 
authors actually imagined real responses echoing down the steep turret steps 
to Elaine or through the forest aisles to the poet of Epipsychidion. They 
are not there because of literary relationships and influences. 

But there was one use of the echo-dialogue in base forms which in all 
probability had purely literary origins. It is a Napoleonic adaptation of the 
device as it had been employed against Roundheads and against Jesuits. It 
furthermore has a tragedy connected with it for none could then take lightly 
the name of the man who rode across frontiers in a dim gray traveling coach, 
and ruled and dominated Europe. 

**This poem, called "A Gentle Echo on Woman, in the Doric Manner/' is to be found among the 
"Miscellanies in Prose and Verse Printed for John Mayhew," 1711. The authors of these miscellanies were 
Swift, Arbuthnot, Pope, and Gay; but of this we can only be sure it was not written by Swift. There are, 
besides this extended use, a few cases similar to that in Addison's translation from Ovid: Pope's "Pastorals" 
(1709), where a great part of the refrain is an invitation to Echo, and one stanza has: 

"Come, Delia, come; ah, why this long delay? 
Through rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds. 
Delia, each cave and echoing rock rebounds." N** v> 

Again we find in Pope, "The Rape of the Lock" (1712), fourth canto: 

" 'O wretched maid!' she spread her hands, and cried. 
While Hampton's echoes, 'wretched maid !' replied." "", ^ • ^ 

Then in John Dyer's, "The Ruins of Rome" (1740): 

"Sung Caesar, great and terrible in war. 
Immortal Caesar! lo, a God, a God!—' 
... a God, a God ! 
The ilow'ry shades and shrines obscene return." 

•» " * 'Tis he! I hear my murderer's voice!* 
Loud shrieks a darkly gleaming form. 
*A murderer's voice!* the roof replies. 
And deeply swells the bursting storm." 

•• 11. 225-239. Foe text see Appendix. 

"* 11. 1766-1776. See Appendix. To these could be added the single echo at the end of Kipling's prose, 
"The Story of the Gadsbys," in the Garden of Eden scene (see Appendix), and a curious one in Byron's 
"Bride of Abydos" (1813): 

"Hark! to the hurried question of despair: 
Where's my child f — an echo answers IV here f* 

'••In "Quatri^e Epoque": ** Lawrence I'\ , .L.*icho seul me renvoye: " Lawrence t" 

'•^ As for instance, in Wordsworth's "Simon Lee"; personification without giving the actual verbal echo: 

"When Echo bandied round and round. 
The hallow of Simon Lee." 



50 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

■ 

For publishing the original of this *°^ and the book in which it was con- 
tained, a certain bookseller of Nuremberg was taken out at Braunau and sum- 
marily- shot on the morning of August 26, 1806.- The execution caused a 
great furore at the time, which did notdie down, but continued in the memories 
of Bavarians for years. Even until very recent times the incident has continued 
to be written up and to have the original documents concerning it published 
and republished. Said Carlyle: 

"Injustice pays itself with frightful compound interest. I am not sure that he had 
better have lost his best park of artillery, or had his best regiment drowned in the sea, than 
shot that poor German bookseller, Palm." 

Thus much trouble did at least one verse cause, and thus did Johann Phillip 
Palm lose his life for the satiric responses of which Echo is capable. 

Yet, aside from this great publicity and notoriety, echoes seemed to have 
gone on about as before. They were mentioned in out-of-door places where 
the scenery was pastoral, in Walton, in Gay's "J^^^ney to Exeter/' in Anne 
Finch, Countess of Winchelsea's poem "To the Echo,'* in Marmontel's "La 
Bergere des Alpes'' (1766), which though not producing regular echo- 
dialogues show that the echo-theme is still an accompaniment of the pastoral 
idea. But the pastoral had never been particularly popular in England. It 
enjoyed a slight vogue about 1580-1590, and about the year 1630. But never 
did it become the formal and popular species of entertainment that it was in 
France from 1620-1630, or in Italy earlier when, as we have already said. 
Guarini popularized the echo in pastoral. There are some in Congreve's "The 
Mourning Bride." Yet the fonnal gardens of the Eighteenth Century, and 
Allan Ramsay's shepherdesses, yielded no echoes; and we are forced to turn 
to the drama. Even there the plays are too much akin to the "music hall'' and 
too remote from the delicate art of pastoral. In the famous garden scene 
of Beaumarchais's "Mariage de Figaro" (1783) ^^^ there are cleverly feigned 
echoes, the same counterfeiting appears with an attempt at terror effects in 
"The Haunted Tower" (1789) by James Cobb,^^^ and bass responses are 
heard to a woman's song (in the manner of an echo) in "The Noble Peasant" 
(1786) by Thomas Holcroft.*^^ But these are either simulated echoes or 
musical refrains, so that we really have no echo at all until we come to 
Pixerecourt's melodrame, "Coelina or the Tale of Mystery" (1802), which 
used a single echo, "Vengeance !" for terror effect, but which Holcroft in trans- 
lation omitted from the English version of the play.^^^ And so in the field 
of the drama almost the only real example we can point to within the past 
two hundred and fifty years is in a play called "The Echo of Westminster 
Bridge" (1835), where the whole plot depended upon that particular echo. 

So we have found very little in the usual forms in which echo-poems 
previously appeared. The sonnet is forgotten, the importance of the device 

^"See "Notes and pucrici," Scries 1. v. IX, p. 153; Series 11, v. X, p. 10, 55, 76. 
>* Which was long-lived and popular on the British stage as "Follies of a Day." 
*•• See Appendix. 
«» See Appendix. 
*•• See Appendix. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 51 

in drama is neglected, the pastoral treads the stately measure of the herdic 
couplet. It is only as we come to the later outburst of genuine song in what 
is known as the Romantic "period" that we find any echoes. And these when 
we do find them are reminiscent of a very uncharacteristic type, that type of 
a semi-musical nature which may not honestly be an echo at all, which appeared 
in the masques and court "revels" of Ben Jonson, and William Browne. It 
is not, of course, possible to include Shelley's powerful poem "Prometheus 
Unbound" (1820) within the category of masques and revels any more than 
within that of the drama, and yet the use of the echo-device is almost identical 
with that in Jonson and Browne. Thus do merely technical details leap across 
the centuries irrespective of methods and environments. 

It will be noticed that there is another important point of similarity with 
Jonson, for here as in "Cynthia's Revels" the echoes develop an entirely inde- 
pendent voice with separate speech of their own. 

To this should be added a song containing an echo chorus as follows: 

Echo in the hollow glen, 

Wake ye from your stilly sleep; ( 

Let us hear your voice again, |.^' ' 

Clear and deep. 

Clear and deep I 

contained in a little book edited by William B. Bradbury, published by M. H. 
Newman & Co., 199 Broadway, New York, in 1847, which illustrates again 
how close the echo may sometimes be to mere musical refrains. 

« • • • • • • • •«• 

Thiese concluding pages of this paper will illustrate, by their haphazard 
and formless arrangement, exactly what has occurred in the later history of 
the echo-device which reached the end of its development during the Eliza- 
bethan period and since then has. been dropped and spasmodically taken up 
again, now and then, here and there.^®^ But each poem which I shall cite 
here will represent almost a totally different thing, except that the device 
seems now to be used with a sharp-pointed pen, sharp with wit or sharp with 
satire. The first called "Echo" by John Godfrey Saxe is purely a humorous 
application. 

I asked of Echo, t'other day 

(Whose words are often few and funny). 

What to a novice she could say 

Of courtship, love, and matrimony. 

Quoth Echo plainly, — "Matter o' money I" 

Whom should I marry? Should it be 

A dashing damsel, gay and pert, 

A pattern of inconstancy ; 

Or selfish, mercenary flirt? 

Quoth Echo, sharply, — "Nary flirt I" 



**" A few scattered verses are given by William S. Walsh in his "Handbook of Literary Cariosities, 
p. 260 ff. 



52 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

What if, aweary of the strife 

That long has lured the dear deceiver, 

She promise to amend her life, 

And sin no more ; can I believe her ? 

Quoth Echo, very promptly, — "Leave her !" 

But if some maiden with a heart 
On me should venture to bestow it, 
Pray, should I act the wiser part 
To take the treasure or forego it? 
Quoth Echo, with decision, — "Go it!" 

But what if, seemingly afraid 

To bind her fate in Hymen's fetter, 

She vow she means to die a maid, 

In answer to my loving letter ? 

Quoth Echo, rather coldly, — "Let her I" 

What if, in spite of her disdain, 
I find my heart intwined about 
With Cupid's dear delicious chain 
So closely that I can't get out? 
Quoth Echo, laughingly, — "Get out !" 

But if some maid with beauty blest. 

As pure and fair as Heaven can make her, 

Will share my labour and my rest 

Till envious Death shall overtake her? 

Quoth Echo, (sotto voce), — "Take her I" 

The next poem, with the Greek title, EI' "EXQ 'ANAMQAATTQ, was 
first published in the Harvard "Lampoon." But the author, Jefferson Butler 
Fletcher, has long been a student of Renaissance Literature and in all proba- 
bility did a pure "stunt-piece" in imitation of the earlier forms.^®' 

Tell me, Echo, tell me truly, — 

Does there dwell beneath the sun 
E'er a maid, whose heart unruly, 

By my beauty has been won? 

Echo answered : "One." 

Is she tiny, fairy-like, vivacious. 

Buoyant as the lightest ether? 
Or is she tall, majestic, gracious; 

A queen beloved by all beneath her? 
Echo murmured: "Neither." 



iM From the Harvard "Lampoon," March 12, 1886. The poem was not reprinted in the anthor's later 
▼olome of collected poetry. From "The Month," by Albert Smith & John Leech. Nov. 1851. Publiahed at 
the office of "The Month," No. 3, Whitefriara Street, (p. 342) we can cite the following further evidence 
of the pnrely humorous use of the device in the 19th century: 

ECHOES OF THE MONTH 

Where is the building that once charmed all London? 

Echo: All undone. 
What thing from Bramah did his Hobbs take ill? 

Echo: His obttacle. 
What will those busses do that take a penny? 

Echo: Takt up any. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 53 

Has she pure, pale tint of Poesy. 

Whose showiness makes blush dismajred 
The snow ? Or is she rich and rosy — 

A Phyllis, bright and comely, speak? 
Echo: ''Comme Tas pique." 

And then her eyes, two limpid wells. 

Each guarded by a silken fence. 
What is their charm, outspelling spells ? 

Whence comes it? May I not ask whence! 
Echo giggled : "Squints." 

Ah I Heavy'd seem Olympic bread, 

Though Hera's home-made yeast-cake leavens, 

Beside the lightness of that tread — 

Those fairy shoes, O blissful heavens! 
Echo said : "Full 'levens." 

Wouldn't all the world be willing 

To give all the world's delight ; 
If to scire those kisses thrilling, 

With no niggard hand, he might? 

Echo : "Nigger dandy might." 

By Jove! you jade, you! that is too much; 

You're carrying things a step too far ; 
For one more such I'll make you rue much ; 

I swear it, by great Persia's Shah ! 

Echo sneered : "Ah, pshaw !" 

Well, I forgive you ere we part. 

Though you've made me a sorry martyr. 
But don't try too hard to be smart. 

Lest some day you should catch a Tartar. 
Echo simpered: "Ta-ta." 

"L'Echo,'' from Francois Coppee (see Appendix), rather continues in 
the modern tendency, if not toward humor, at least toward that discreet 
humor which is known as society verse. 

Another, "Eco y Yo" (see Appendix), is in Spanish, by a South Ameri- 
can, simply to show how far the technical trait has spread. It may bob up 
in Qiinese next. This poem is by Ruben Dario (1868-1916) and has not, 
so far as I know, been translated.*^' 

The next poem carries us into still another country: it is a poem called 
"The Echo'' translated from Heine. **° 

Through the lovely mountainland 

There rode a cavalier. 
*0h, ride I to my darling's arms. 

Or to the grave so drear?' 

The Echo answered clear, 

'The grave so drear.' 



1** It U included by Mr. Fitzmaurice-Kelly u No. 205 in "The Oxford Book of Spanish Verse. 
>^From "Songs of the Road," hj Arthur Conan Doyle, London, 1911, p. 119. 



54 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

So onward rode the cavalier 

And clouded was his brow, 
*If now my hour be truly come, 

Ah well, it must be now 1 

The Echo answered low, 

'It must be now.' 

The next echo-poem which I am giving, and it is the last, is the 
strangest manifestation of a very strange device. A technical trick, used 
mostly in periods of great artificial fantasy, is taken up by a poet of a nation 
at war and used as it had previously been used for political satire. The 
analogy is close enough to the poems about Napoleon, Jesuits, and Round- 
heads to prevent too great amazement; but the use of such an intricate, 
technical device is particularly strange because poems of the present war, 
especially German poems, have almost all been written in strong and simple 
meters and stanza forms, bare of any unnecessary decorative devices or signs 
of sheer cleverness. Yet here is a highly decorated poem whose author evi- 
dently expected the echoes to be heard above the whirring noise of Zeppelins, 
and above the crash of cannon that speak the name of Krupp. 

ECHOLIED 

Erst fuhr der eine uns ans Bein, 
Der andre klaffte hinterdrein, 
Von hinten sprang der dritte vor — 
So einte sich des edie Korps 
In einem biss'gen Klumpen — 
Lumpen 1 

Mit ihrer Schn — ute riesengross, 
Wie gehn sie druff ! Wie ziehn sie los I 
Wie belfern sie voll Hass und Hohn! 
Sie feiern es im voraus schon, 
Dass sie uns iiberwanden — 
Wann denn ? 

Ihr Helden, nur gemach, gemach ! 
Jetst ist der deutsche Michel wachl 
Er nimmt die Peitsche — hui, es knallt — 
Passt auf, am Ende setzt es bald 
Statt der Triumphgesange 
Senge 1 *" 

And here our collection and our comments end. The use of the echo- 
device has been well nigh forgotten for something over two hundred years. 
But there were days when the trick was a popular one, when like Jaqties we 
might come running with the cry, "A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' the forest.'* 
but ours would not be so sad a tale. These echoes, which have practically 
passed out of our literature as something unnatural, yet had their astonishing 
vogue and their adaptability. 

The variety of uses to which the device was put — for horror in the 
tragedy of blood, for humor in burlesquing pieces, for characterization in 

^^ By Hedwig Stephan, taken from "Der Heilige Krieg, Gedichte aus dem Beginn des Kampfes,*' re- 
printed from "Kladderadatsch." I noted in a daily paper one other German echo-poem, about the war, en- 
titled "Das Echo." 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 55 

comedy, for support to a despondent lover in dreamy soliloquies, for pretty 
compliment in sonnet form, for cynical reflection in lyric introspection, 
for serious worship of Heaven and God, for bitter and dangerous political 
satire — the very variety of uses renders the type interesting. And if we 
consider it too artificial a thing we have only to recall with Mr. Lowes Dick- 
inson that the literature and art of the past can never be dead. "It is the flask 
where the geni of life is imprisoned; you have only to open it and the life is 
yours." Thus through shifting lights and shadows of the changing centuries 
we pursue our fleeting echoes, now deluded into praise or blame of Venus, 
now hearkening to political polemics, now trembling at thoughts of spilt blood 
and ghostly vengeance, now joining in the musical masques of rare Ben Jon- 
son the prmcely compliment and the formal praise, now lauding that Gloriana 
whose honor so many poets have sung, now worshipping at our own adorable 
shrine and repeating the pleasant, courtly phrases of the lovers of three hundred 
years ago. 

And if the mood of this paper has been a bookish one, if musty tomes 
seem to predominate over the soft green of rocky woodland glens or the 
sheer bold beauty of high blue noon, it requires but a word to remind us that 
the disembodied spirit of Echo still awaits our call. It requires but a shout 
and a pause to remind us that echoes are realities. The firing of a gun or the 
blowing of a train whistle will elicit a reply from some far-off hillside. But 
perhaps we are too sophisticated and too meticulous of our dignity to indulge 
in idle banter with an idle nymph. We leave it to the boys whose shouts are 
unrestrained. As a lad, I used to row out on Lake Champlain into the quiet 
of twilight, when the sun had gone down in a crimson flare behind the shadowy 
Adirondacks. I would pull away from shore and then indulge in curious calls, 
whistles, and shouts, taking great delight as from various bays which indented 
the shore, the darkened woods gave back my cries. But, alas, I am a boy no 
longer, and now I seek echoes not amid the beauties of a Vermont lake-side, 
but among printed rhymes by the poets of other years. 



APPENDIX 



Shelley's "Epipsychidion" (1821), 1. 225 et seq.: 

But She, whom prayers or tears then could not tame, . 

Passed, like a god throned on a winged planet, 

Whose burning plumes to a tenfold swiftness fan it, 

Into the dreary cave of our life's shade ; 

And as a man with mighty loss dismayed, 

I would have followed, though the grave between 

Yawned like a gulf whose spectres are unseen : 

When a voice said : — "O thou of hearts the weakest, 

The phantom is beside thee whom thou seekest." 

Then I — "Where ?" — the world's echo answered "Where?" 

And in that silence, and in my despair, 

I questioned every tongueless wind that flew 

Over my tower of mourning, if it knew 

Whither 'twas fled, this soul out of my soul. 

Tennyson's "Lancelot and Elaine" (1859), 1. 1766et seq.: 

"Fret not yourself, dear brother, nor be wroth, 

Seeing it is no more Sir Lancelot's fault 

Not to love me than it is mine to love 

Him of all men who seems to me the highest." 

"Highest?" the father answer'd, echoing "highest?" 

(He meant to break the passion in her) "nay, 

Daughter, I know yot what you call the highest; 

But this I know, for all the people know it, 

He loves the Queen, and in an open shame : 

And she returns his love in open shame ; 

If this be high, what is it to be low?" 

This may be supplemented by an example from "The Princess" (1847), 

used for rhythmical effect and for the onomatopoeia. . . t . 

1 

The splendor falls on castle walls, 

And snowy summits old in story ; ' - ^ 

The long light shakes across the lakes. 
And the wild cataract leaps in glory. 
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, 
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. 

O hark, O hear 1 how thin and clear, 

And thinner, clearer, farther going 1 
O sweet and far from cliff and scar 

The horns of elf land faintly blowing ! 
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying : 
Blow, bugle ; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. 

O love, they die in yon rich sky. 

They faint on hill or field or river ; 
Our echoes roll from soul to soul. 
And grow forever and forever. 
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying. 
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying. 

[57] 



58 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

From Kipling s Garden of Eden scene "The Story of the Gadsbys": 

Captain and Mrs. Gadsby sing a song of Vanity, at end of the honeymoon, the last 
verse of which goes : 

Both Together (Con brio, to the horror of the monkeys 

who are settling for the night) — 

"Vanity, all is Vanity," said Wisdom, scorning me — 

I clasped my true love's tender hand and answered frank and f ree-ee : — 

"If this be Vanity who'd be wise? 

If this be Vanity who'd be wise? 

If this be Vanity who'd be wi-ise? 

(Crescendo) Vanity let it be!" 

Mrs. G. (Defiantly to the gray of the evening sky) "Vanity let it be!" 
Echo (From the Fagoo spur) Let it be ! 

"The Haunted Tower," an opera by Jas. Cobb (1789). Here we have 
a pseudo-echo. Some of a small party fear that a ghost is in the haunted 
chamber, others of the party quite stoutly declare it to be but an echo which 
repeats the final syllables — when as a matter of fact it is a man replying: 

Baron: Where's the echo you conjured up just now? 

Robert: Indeed, we heard an echo. 

Baron: Did you? well, sing you then, and let me hear it. I'll show you 

a pattern of resolutions, you rapscallions. 
Robert: Now mark, my Lord. (Sings.) "And we'll be wondrous merry." 
Lord W. (Behind, in Robert's voice) : "And we'll be wondrous merry." 
Baron: (Alarmed) Egad, but it's an odd sort of an echo. 
Lewis: Suppose your honour was to speak to it, perhaps it would answer 

you civilly. 
Baron: O! I dare say it will have a proper respect for my dignity: 

what are you, ghost or spirit ? 
Lord W. (In the Baron's voice) : "Ghost or spirit." 
Baron: (Very much frightened) O lord! O lord! why, why don't some 

of you speak to me ? what — what — are you afraid of ? 

Robert, what makes you look so pale ? For my part — I — I 

— I don't believe in apparitions. 
Lewis: Egad then it is haunted by a jolly spirit; so here's to the ghost! 

(Sinus.) "And we'll be wondrous merry.' 
Lord W. (Behind) : "And we'll be wondrous merry.' 



ft 

. 

it 



From Thomas Holcroft, "The Noble Peasant," 1786. Though Holcroft 
was a professed admirer of Pope, "The Noble Peasant" shows no traces of 
the rigidity of the early 18th century or of what DeQuincey called "the 
spurious Arcadia of the opera stage." 

Act I, Scene II. 

Edwitha begins to sing. Responses are heard from the wood. 
Ye rocks and caves, with deep resounding voice, 
Ref. With deep resounding voice. 

[Edwitha and Adela are surprised.] 
Ediv, Did you hear, Adela ? 
Ade, Yes, yes ; I heard. 
Edw, Once more. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 59 



SONG. Edwitha 

Ye rocks and caves, with deep resounding voice, 

Ref. With deep resounding voice. 

Bid Echo, who, your haunts among, 
Can mimic well the Shepherd's song. 
Or Herdsman's hoarser throat ; 

Ref, Or Herdsman's hoarser throat. 

Or with the festive Villager rejoice. 
Can chirp to all the winged throng ; 
Can oft repeat the jolly Plough-boy's song; 
Bid gentle Echo ease my grief. 

Ref. Ease your grief. 

, And tell me is my Harold safe. 

Ref. Harold's safe. 

Edw. This is enchantment, Adela 1 'Tis sure some 
kind Spirit sent to comfort me. 

Ade. I can't tell how kind he may be, but I have dis- 
covered the Spirit. Come, come from your hiding place, 
Mr. , and let us know what and who you are. 

Adela goes toward a tuft of trees, from whence enter 
Leonard with his flute. 

From "Coelina" by Guilbert de Pixerecourt (1800). Coelina in the final 
scene where the stage "represente un lieu sauvage'': 

Truguelin : Ces mots terribles retentisscnt sans cesse a mon oreille : 

Point de repos pour I'assassin... Vengeance... 
Vengeance (On entend resumer I'echo. Truguelin 
se retourne avec effroi.) Ou suis-je? quelle voix 
menacante. . . Ciel I que vois-je I ce pont, ces rochers, 
ce torrent. . . C'est la que ma main criminelle versa 
le sang d'un in fortune. 

[This scene, as brought to the English stage by Holcroft 
in A Tale of Mystery (1802), does not have an echo.] 

L'EcHO 

By Francois Copp^e 

J'ai cri6 dans la solitude : 
"Mon chagrin sera-t-il moins rude, 
Un jour, quand je dirai son nom?" 
Et I'echo m'a r^pondu : "Non.' 



f> 



"Comment vivrai-je, en la detresse 
Qui m'enveloppe et qui m'oppresse. 
Comme fait au mort son linceul?" 
Et I'echo m'a r^pondu : "Seul !" 

"Grace ! Ce sort est trop severe I 
Mon coeur se revoke! Que faire 
Pour en etouffer les rumeurs?" 
Et I'echo m'a repondu : "Meurs I" 



60 THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

Eco Y Yo 

— Eco, divina y desnuda» 
como el diamante del agna, 

mi musa estos versos f ragna 
, y necesita tu ayuda, 

pues sola peligros teme. 
— i Heme 1 

— Tuve en momentos distantes, 
^ / - antes, 






que amar los dulces cabellos 

bellos, 
de la ilusion que primera 

era, 
en mi alcazar andaluz 

luz, 
en mi palacio de moro 

oro, 
en mi mansi6n dolorosa 

rosa. 
Se apag6 como una estrella 

ella 
Deja, pues, que me contriste. 

— I Triste ! 

i Se f ue el instante oportuno t 

— i Tuno I 

— i Por que, si era yo suave 

ave, 
que sobre el haz de la tierra 

yerra 
y el reposo de la rama 

ama? 
Guiome por varios senderos 

Eros, 
mas no se porto tan bien 

en 
equivarme los risuetlos 

suenos, 
que hubieran dado a mi vida 

ida, 
menos crueks mordeduras 

duras. 
Mas hoy el duelo ann me acosa. 

— lOsal 

— I Osar, si el dolor revuela 1 

— i Vuela I 

— Tu voz ya no me convence. 

— vence. 

— I La suerte errar me demanda ! 

— I Anda I 

— Mas de Ilusion las simientes . . . 

— I Mientes 1 

— lY ante la desesperanza ? 

— Esperanza. 
Y hacia el vasto porvenir 

ir. 

— Tu acento es bravo, annque seco 

Eco. 



THE ECHO-DEVICE IN LITERATURE 61 

Sigo, pues, mi rumbo, errante, 

ante 
los ojos de las rosadas 

hadas. 
Gust^ de Amor hidromieles, 

mieles ; 
prob^ de Horacio divino, 

vino; 
Entre ji en mis delirios 

lirios. 
Lo fatal con sus ardientes 

dientes 
apreto mi connovida 

vida; 
mas me libro en toda parte 

arte. 
Lista est& a partvi mi barca. 

area, 
do va mi gala suprema. 

— Rema 

— Un blando mar se consigne 

— Signe. 

— La aurora rosas reparte. 

— i Parte I 
Ya la ola que te admira 

mint, 
y a la sirena que enchanta 
I canta I 



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